Hidden Opportunities: Identifying Lots in Legal Descriptions

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When it comes to dividing residential land, the most common way is by land severance (consent).

Of course, this is a difficult process requiring an owner to navigate zoning by-laws, manage public input, collaborate with professionals, and ultimately get a majority vote from the Committee of Adjustment.

But technically, there is another way - and the first thing to do is look at the legal description.

You want to find a property with at least two (2) whole lots in the legal description.

Let's look at some examples:

Example 1: LT 35 PL 123; PT LT 36 PL 123; [CITY NAME]

In this example, "LT 35 PL 123" means the whole of lot 35 within Subdivision Plan 123. And, "PT LT 36 PL 123", means part of lot 36 in Subdivision Plan 123.

In other words, this property contains one whole lot and part of another whole lot. There are various reasons how this came about, but for now, it does not fit the criteria we're looking for.

Example 2: LTS 6, 7 & 8 PL 456; [CITY NAME]

In this example, "LTS 6, 7, & 8 PL 456" means that this property is the whole of lots 6, 7, and 8 in Subdivision Plan 456.

In other words, we have three (3) whole lots in this legal description. Again, there are various reasons how this could have happened - but more importantly, it represents a potential opportunity.

Most municipalities have a process using "Part Lot Control" that allows a property owner to apply to revert the property back to the whole lots recognized in the plan of subdivision. Sometimes, even when these original lots no longer meet the minimum zoning by-laws.

So, if a property with a legal description like Example 2 contained just one single detached house, there would be potential to develop this into three (3) residential lots - without the public or the Committee of Adjustment.

Now of course, there are caveats to this. And every municipality has different by-laws which can interact with this process. But if you are working with a property that has multiple whole lots, its worth exploring options with the City Staff or a lawyer.

Key Takeaway

When a legal description contains multiple whole lots, there is potential opportunity for subdivision.

Written by
Zachary Soccio-Marandola
Real Estate Lawyer

Direct: (647) 797-6881
Email: zachary@socciomarandola.com