Service Alberta ends paperwork backlog at land titles offices –

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The Alberta government says it has ended the paperwork backlog at land titles offices in Edmonton and Calgary. 

Processing times are now 10 to 12 business days, Service Alberta Minister Dale Nally said at a news conference in Edmonton on Monday. 

Buy/sell, rent/lease residential &
commercials real estate properties.

In December 2022, people were waiting 84 days to transfer and register a title. Surveys took 55 business days to process.

The backlog was a result from a surge in sales between April 2021 and December 2022. 

Nally said the delays were creating problems because sales aren’t final until a land title is registered. 

“Sellers had to wait a long time to get their money. Developers had difficulty getting the subdivision approvals that they needed,” he said.

“And smaller developers looking to build an infill home found it difficult to get financing because they did not have clear title.”

Service Alberta hired temporary workers to help cut down the backlog, Nally said. The offices in Edmonton and Calgary delayed opening counter service to allow staff more time to process documents. 

Darlene Reid, chair-elect of the Edmonton Realtors Association, is welcoming the changes. She said quick verification of who legally owns a property is crucial to keeping the real estate market moving smoothly. 

‘A big mess’

While Nally said normally processing times are within 10 to 12 days, Reid said the timeline before the 2021-22 sales surge was much shorter. 

“Historically our times were two to five days,” she said in an interview. “Two to five days is what we’d like to see but any improvement right now is a bonus.” 

The United Conservative government under former premier Jason Kenney cut the land titles budget by more than one-third in 2019. 

Calgary-Falconbridge MLA Parmeet Singh Boparai, the NDP Opposition critic for Service Alberta, said the UCP created the land titles problem.

“It was a big mess for Albertans,” he said. 

Land titles staff also work with decades-old, paper-based systems that have contributed to delays. 

In early 2021, Service Alberta looked at privatizing land titles, corporate and personal registries as a way to offload the costs of upgrading the outdated computer systems but eventually abandoned the plan. 

The government is planning to spend $60 million over three years to digitize and automate land titles.

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