Privatizing land registry a slippery slope

by John Tenpenny25 Sep 2015
A move by the provincial government to privatize the land registry could mean more fees for home buyers in Nova Scotia.

The government said in July it is looking at off-loading the costs of upgrading its registry services for land, businesses and motor vehicles by partnering with the private sector.

If approved, the province has said the companies would provide registry services for Nova Scotians, while the government would be responsible for regulating the registries and setting fees.

“We’re concerned that privatization of a public service like the land registry could result in higher fees, less publically available data, and reduced access to services,” said Gord Burns, president of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors (NSAR).

Based on what happened in Ontario and Manitoba after the land registry was privatized, NSAR said it’s concerned the costs for home purchase-related services such as legal and surveyor fees could go up.

“If service providers need to pay increased fees to access the registry, then that will be passed on to consumers,” said Burns. 

“Realtors in Nova Scotia believe that the possibility of home ownership is a fundamental right and anything that would hinder people from purchasing or selling a home, such as higher fees or lack of access to public data, is something that our members are very concerned about.”

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