LAND (SPOUSE PROTECTION) ACT – A COOL WAY TO PROTECT YOUR INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY

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Land (spouse Protection) Act – A Cool Way to Protect your Interest in The Property

If you are not on Title for the house you and your spouse are occupying since marriage or have occupied after marriage or common-law relationship, you do not have to necessarily launch a lawsuit to stop your spouse from selling the house and pocketing the proceeds. This could also mean that you want to settle with your spouse another way or you have not yet decided to separate or divorce. The law provides protection in these situations as well, through the Land (Spouse Protection) Act of BC. An entry under section 2 of Land (Spouse Protection) Act of BC, allows the spouse whose name is not on the Title to put a charge on the house. This charge operates in the same way as a Certificate of Pending Litigation. This entry will stop the property from being sold without the consent of the person who obtained the entry. There is no need to start a full-blown legal battle.

The fine print under this act stipulates that:

The property must be located in BC. The parties must not be divorced at the time of the application. The entry only applies to property "occupied by the husband and wife as their residence," and which is owned by one or both spouses. The application must be made within one year of moving out of the property.

The cool things about entries under the Land (Spouse Protection) Act is that the other spouse is normally not notified about the entry. The bad news is that the act ceases to apply once a couple are divorced, which means that the entry, although still on title, will be ineffective to prevent the transfer of the property once you have divorced. The entry can be removed by you at any time. You may decide to consent to a sale of the property when a sale is the right thing for both you and your spouse, or you may decide that a court action is the only way to resolve your property dispute.

A Land (Spouse Protection) Act charge is not a solution for every situation. As an example, it is important to note that this charge does not give you priority over creditors like a Certificate of Pending Litigation (a charge registered after a family lawsuit has commenced with a Notice of Family Claim). But, it can be a low-conflict and affordable option for those concerned that their spouse may sell their house out from under them.

If you need help to put a charge or get a charge removed under the Land Spouse Protection Act of B.C., please call us at 604.839.2000 or email info@whiterocknotaries.ca

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