By Peter Borszcz / Land Titles /

Statutory Building Schemes (under s.220 of the Land Title Act) are charges on title that contain terms which limit what a home owner can do with his property and are placed upon the property by a developer at the time of subdivision.

Developers use a Statutory Building Scheme to ensure that the neighborhood has a certain “look and feel” and the nature of the restrictions contained can vary. For example a building scheme could easily restrict “farm animals”, restrict where you can store a boat, and define what types of “roofing materials” are acceptable.

By their very nature, Statutory Building Schemes will have the greatest effect on persons constructing a new home in a subdivision and will need to be carefully reviewed by both the home owner and the potential builder/ general contractor prior to the subject removal date on the lot purchase.

However, Statutory Building Schemes are also important for resale home owners. These documents will limit the nature of renovations (especially exterior changes) and the use of the property. In some cases these limitations are benign, obvious, or against municipal bylaws given the nature of the property (for example the “Glenrosa” building scheme restricts “swine, sheep, and large livestock” in a residential subdivision). In others these restrictions can adversely limit use of the property (for example limitations on secondary buildings on acreage homes or restricting RV or boat parking).

As the terms of the Statutory Building Scheme cannot be determined by merely looking at the Land Title summary report, it is important that a Buyer review these terms. In most cases the restrictions are written in plain language and can be easily understood.