What Is A Certificate of Location Exactly?

Whether you are selling or buying a property, you will get acquainted with the certificate of location. It is an essential document. It is not too complicated although it is a little technical. Let us shed some light on this issue.


The certificate of location is the work of an accomplished land surveyor. It basically contains numbers, such as the dimensions of the land and buildings, the number of floors of the property and its structure. But it mostly contains the general plan of the property: location of the land and pool, cadastral data, limitations, encroachments, servitudes (utility corridor), and the geographical position of all the elements present, from the shed to the hedge, including the vehicle access.

In addition, you will find the opinion of the land surveyor defining the history and state of the land, the laws and regulations that affect it, the building’s exterior siding, etc. Therefore, this document provides subjective information which may vary slightly from one surveyor to another.

The certificate of location refers to the zoning area, which becomes very useful if the property is located in a riparian, flood or agricultural area or is located in a cultural heritage protection zone.

The selling owner is responsible for assuming the cost of the certificate. The price will vary depending on multiple factors. The document must be up-to-date. According to article 2917 of the Québec’s Civil Code, the period for acquisitive prescription is 10 years[1], except as otherwise determined by law. If it’s not the case, the buyer may require in the promise to purchase that a more recent certificate be issued. It’s in the buyer’s best interest after all. However, if the certificate does not reflect any change and the buyer still requests a new one, the buyer will normally have to bear the cost, as stipulated in the promise to purchase.


In short, the certificate of location enables all the parties to visualize the property in every detail. It’s somewhat of a map-drawing. By delivering the document, the land surveyor makes everyone’s job easier. It’s a useful document, especially for the mortgage lender, but it is not a legally binding one. In the case of a dispute, the land surveyor will have to investigate a little further.

The Via Capitale broker will give you additional information on the certificate of location. Experience on the ground is hard to beat. In the meantime, click here to look at an example of a certificate of location.



[i] Code civil du Québec, article 2917