Architectural and cadastral plans

Real estate brokers are very familiar with the difficulties involved in determining the area of a divided co-ownership unit. On the one hand, the current practice of selling new co-ownership properties ''on plans'' means that measurements are based on architectural plans. On the other hand, the Civil Code of Qu├ębec requires that the cadastral plan from which the creation of the co-ownership originates (1) be determined from an actual measuring of the inside of the private portions based on established physical boundaries (2). The net area shown on the cadastral plan is based on net measurements calculated from the interior divisions or finishings, excluding columns and other common portions that go through the private portion such as ventilation, plumbing or electrical shafts. It is therefore inevitable that sometimes significant discrepancies are found to exist between the architectural plans and the cadastral plan.

Properly informing the buyer and the seller

It is up to the broker to exercise caution and inform the seller and the buyer clearly about these ''natural'' discrepancies between the calculations methods used. This diligence will of course vary depending on whether the immovable is a new or a resale unit. In the case of a new unit, the broker must ensure that:

  • the preliminary contract states that measurements are approximate and that there could be a difference between the area indicated in the promotional document, i.e. the architectural plans, and the net area that will appear in the cadastral plan;
  • the seller give buyers, regardless of the number of co-ownership units, a written notice informing them that the area and volume calculations of each private portion resulting from the land survey and the cadastral plan show net measurements that could be different from and inferior to those indicated in the architectural plans used to sell the units.

In case of a resale unit, the broker must ensure that:

  • the area indicated in the brokerage contract and on the detailed description sheet is the same as it appears on the cadastral plan and not on the original architectural plans.

Source: Me Serge Allard, notary