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What's Not on the Property Title May Be Important - part 2

Last week I prepared a piece about what is and what isn't on the title search that could affect your ownership in very extreme ways. Click here to read Part 1

I also described few real life scenarios of such happenings. I have promised to provide a few resources where you can go and research the property yourself, so here is Part 2...

How can you discover the facts about a property?
- Ask the owner.
- Visit the local government (municipal) website where you will find a range of information, for example:
- Some municipalities provides a road map of designated heritage buildings and homes, and includes photos. (Note: there is no available universal public registry of homes previously used as grow ops and illegal drug labs.)
- The City of Vancouver confirms if a property has been used as a grow op or illegal drug lab to anyone phoning 604.871.6231. The City does not provide the owner’s name in keeping with privacy legislation. Abbotsford and Chilliwack have a similar program but be prepared for a red tape around the Privacy Act and allow 2 weeks to get any useful information.
- Few municipalities provide a list of properties known to have underground storage tanks similar to West Vancouver. Visit: www.westvancouver.ca and search Fuel Storage Tank Program. Scroll to "More Information" and see "Fuel/Oil Tank Records Search."  If you don’t find what you need online, phone your local government or go in person. Depending on the municipality, there may be comprehensive data.
- There is a BC Heritage Sites Inventory. Information about its properties comes from local governments, so start there   first.
- Check the BC Archaeological Site Inventory at   www.for.gov.bc.ca/archaeology/accessing_archaeolo gical_data/index.htm.You can also phone: 250-953-3338.
- Search the BC Government’s Contaminated Sites Registry which lists some contaminated sites. It is available through
  www.bconline.gov.bc.ca.(Go to Products). There is a charge to access the database.

What happens if your property has an old tank?
Each municipality has different requirements and provisions for enforcing the removal or abandonment of underground or aboveground storage tanks.
- Contact your local fire department. They will advise you on how to properly deal with your tank.
- Tanks can contaminate soil and groundwater, may pose a fire and explosion hazard, and may impact human health.
- If you plan on selling your property, you must tell your REALTOR® about the tank and also disclose the tank on the Property Disclosure Statement.
- If you are buying a property, your REALTOR® will advise you to have the property inspected and to seek an expert opinion on the matter, especially if the underground or above ground storage tank is thought to be leaking. If you have questions about fuel storage tanks, contact your municipality.

Once again when it comes to solving these kinds of challenges, your Realtor is an excellent source of information and  can provide hands on experience. Call us - we are ready to help!

 Tibor Bogdan


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