Do I Need an Survey (RPR) to Sell My Home

When you decide to sell your home, one of the documents required to have ready is your Real Property Report. First of all, I'd like to define Real Property Report and highlight it's importance when selling.

What is a Real Property Report? (RPR)

A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. The key word is improvement. 


The word “improvement” refers to any visible structure of a permanent nature, constructed or placed on, in, or over land. Improvement does not include structures that have been taken away. Although you and I may agree that taking away a rotting deck will certainly look better than it staying!

Municipal Compliance 

City of Calgary - The RPR need to have a Stamp of Compliance from your municipality confirming your building locations and that you comply with the land use bylaw.  

A Certificate of Compliance is a confirmation from The City of Calgary that the locations of structures on a property comply with the Land Use Bylaw. This is confirmed on a Real Property Report prepared by an Alberta land surveyor. It does not regulate or enforce any building code requirements or serve as a confirmation of permit history on a property.

A Certificate of Compliance is not a comprehensive bylaw review. The following items are not reviewed for compliance:

  • Fences*

  • Retaining walls*

  • Driveway width

  • Parcel coverage

  • Building height

  • Accessory residential buildings less than 10 m2 (sheds, pergolas, etc.)*

  • Alberta Building Code requirements

*All built structures will be reviewed for encroachments onto City property.

A Certificate of Compliance is usually required by lending agencies or lawyers in the sale of a property and/or mortgage approval to protect their clients' investments. Standard real estate purchase contracts often require the vendor to obtain a compliance certificate. A Certificate of Compliance is not a legislative requirement, but rather a service provided by The City of Calgary. The City does not require you to get a compliance certificate.

Non-Conformance and Relaxations

City of Calgary - A Real Property Report that shows structures that are non-compliant with the Land Use Bylaw will result in a refused compliance. When this occurs, consider the following:

Remove the non-compliant structure

If the non-compliant structure is a minor issue, it may be easiest to remove the offending structure. This option depends on the feasibility of removing the structure and the importance of that structure to the sale. If a structure is removed and the survey is updated to reflect the change, submit the update within six months of the original and compliance fees will be waived.

Apply for a relaxation

development permit for relaxation of Land Use Bylaw rules is another option. After the refusal, the applicant submits color pictures of the non-compliant structure, the Real Property Report and the applicable fee. See the requirements list for relaxation of an existing structure. Relaxations are not guaranteed, as they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Every relaxation presents unique variables and impacts on the surrounding community. Affected parties have an opportunity to provide input.

Compliance is not always required

Sales, leases and other agreements often require a Certificate of Compliance for the protection of interested parties, but this is done as a private condition between those groups. The City offers compliance as a service only, and does not intervene in private transactions.

Even if a non-compliant structure existed before you owned the property, it may still impede compliance. Real property reports represent the property at the time of survey.

The Purchase Contract

When you receive a purchase contract you will need to review the Closing Process. In this section you will be required to supply closing documents which will include the RPR and the Buyer/Buyer's Lawyer should have time to review this document. It is in everyone's best interest you have the RPR prepared prior to your sale. Then if an issue arises, you can choose to remove the issue, negotiate the issue in your offer (which comes with finding a buyer that will be willing to accept your issue), or, apply and pay for a relaxation with the city. 

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