Stop Home Resales – Certificate of Pending Litigation

The bar is high when you request a certificate of pending litigation (CPL) from an Ontario court.

Asserting your financial interest in a home or land by putting a charge on title to a property is sort of a last resort. It means other legal options, like suing the property owner to get your money back, likely won’t work.

And that could leave you holding the bag if the court doesn’t agree to a certificate of pending litigation. 

What a CPL On Title Is

Exactly how does a certificate of pending litigation work? 

Checking correct documents with the lawyer

A “CPL” protects your claim to an interest in Ontario land if other legal remedies would be ineffective. Since a certificate of pending litigation blocks a property owner from selling, mortgaging, or otherwise disposing of land, you’ll have to work hard to prove it’s required. Ontario real estate law questions you ask us. 

Think of a certificate of pending litigation as a type of encumbrance on a title, like a contractor’s lien, mortgage, or right of way for power lines (encroachment). It’s a serious legal remedy that prevents a buyer or mortgage lender from having clear title to a property. 

Realistically, finding purchasers interested in buying a condo with a pending lawsuit, or lenders to mortgage a property that could be tied up in court for months or years is unlikely. Buyer’s right to cancel. 

Scenario #1: You’re Owed Money

Say you and your buddies buy an income property in Ontario. You contribute $25,000 each and, for convenience only, put the title in “Frank’s” name. Condos are on an upswing, and you stand to profit when you hear Frank plans to sell. 

Your buddy, who’s living there, claims he owns the condo. The mortgage and title are in his name. You need to stop Frank fast, by asserting your claim to the condo with a certificate of pending litigation, if an Ontario court will grant one. 

Registering a certificate of pending litigation will prevent Frank from selling or mortgaging your investment until this ownership dispute is settled.

Scenario #2: Seller Refuses to Close

Your offer to purchase an Ontario home is accepted, but now the seller is refusing to close. You’ve thought about can I sue my real estate agent, but your lawyer says no. Complain about a realtor’s conduct. 

Realtor’s duty to clients. 

You’re no quitter. What do you do now? Deposits in termination of real estate contract by seller (Ontario) disputes. 

What if a real estate buyer won’t close.  

Registering a CPL

What’s next? Register a certificate of pending litigation by applying to an Ontario court judge. A civil litigation or real estate lawyer can assist you. The legal standard is high. See the factors courts consider in Pacione v Pacione, 2019 ONSC 813 (CanLII) 

Removing a CPL From Title

Dispute over or languishing in court? Remove a CPL by asking the court to cancel the certificate. You can make a request when a claim isn’t pursued, is resolved or dismissed, or an appeal fails or is not filed in time. The claimant can also ask the court to cancel a CPL. 

Finally, you might get a CPL dropped if you can show it will cause hardship or inconvenience, such as being forced to declare bankruptcy. Paying the proceeds from the sale of your property into the court until the dispute is settled could be sufficient to satisfy the court to cancel the CPL.

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer 

Access lawyers for less when you have real estate interests anywhere in Ontario. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers search titles to property, and advise if your offer to purchase could be blocked by a pending lawsuit. 

We review the fine print in draft or signed agreements of purchase and sale for clauses that protect your legal and financial interests. We can even negotiate to amend your contract. 

If you’re worried your realtor or a seller has convinced you to leave out an essential condition like a professional home inspection, Axess Law advises you what to do next. 

Change your offer to purchase. 

Home inspections can reveal minor, visible defects that require repairing, or substantial foundation issues that need immediate attention. We liaise with the seller’s lawyer to discuss who will make repairs, or to take your directions on cancelling. If withdrawing could make you liable for financial penalties, your Axess Law real estate lawyer discusses it with you before we proceed. Find an Ontario home inspector. 

Dealing with home inspection deficiencies

When a seller revokes your agreement of purchase and sale at the last minute, Axess Law reviews your contract for escape clauses. We can refer you to trusted legal partners if you have grounds to sue. Canada’s home buyers’ bill of rights

We add clauses that give you the right to a final walk through before you take final possession, and talk to the seller’s lawyer for you if unreasonable delays occur in closing your real estate transaction. 

Mortgage financing in place? Axess Law liaises with your mortgage lender to discharge your existing debt, and prepare legal documents for your signing appointment. File a claim for new home delays

We search your property title to ensure it’s free of financial claims or construction liens, and register it in your name at a local land registry office. We can even hand you the keys to your new home. Why you need title insurance

Dealing with a professional or lawyer

Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are 

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or by remote video conference. Our flat fee rates are affordable, and all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Your final invoice includes no surprises, or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it. You can get independent legal advice, or add a family member to a property for a modest title transfer lawyer fee. Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need.

Find virtual real estate lawyers near you. 

Book Legal Appointments Online or By Phone

Axess Law reviews agreements of purchase and sale online or in person. Virtual video calls and document signings for real estate transactions can be arranged anywhere in Ontario, 7 days a week. Licensed real estate lawyers are available to meet day or evening at any of our conveniently located Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices. Make an appointment by dialing toll free to 1-877-552-9377, or call our 647-479-0118 lawyer line in Toronto. Schedule your own appointments using our easy online booking form.

Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s real estate law services.

Related Articles