Commercial Real Estate

Gord Howorth provides legal assistance with buying, selling, leasing and financing commercial real estate of all kinds including strip malls, shopping centres, office buildings, warehouse buildings, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing plants and commercial condominiums. If you plan to make or accept an offer to buy or sell or lease commercial real estate, whether it is the whole building or only a unit or part of the building, it is advised that you make the deal subject to approval by your lawyer within 3 business days as a condition of the offer. There are many more issues to consider for commercial real estate.


Residential Real Estate

The closing of a purchase or sale of your house, condo, townhouse or cottage will normally be handled for you by your lawyer and in our office we have a substantial volume of real estate deals and experienced staff to assist with closings. For a purchase of real estate, your most significant expense item in addition to the purchase price will be land transfer tax (click link for government page).   Some buyers may not be aware that the legal principle of “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware” usually applies to your purchase so it is important to carefully inspect the property before making the offer and it may be advisable for some buyers and properties to have a professional inspection.  I recommend that you work with a licensed realtor who can provide great assistance in the process of buying or selling and who has a professional understanding of the fair market value of the property.


Commercial Leases

There are no standard forms or provisions for commercial leases, and this means that it is very important to understand all of the provisions of the lease before signing as landlord or tenant of commercial premises.  There are many areas that will normally need to be negotiated between the parties, including rent, contributions to expenses and repairs, options to renew, restrictive covenants and occasionally the ability to terminate before the end of the term may be important to the tenant.  The wording in some commercial leases can be very technical and may not always be clear for non-professionals in the field.


Condominium Registration

Registration of a residential or commercial condominium project is subject to complex rules. The Declaration and Bylaws are required to meet legal and municipal requirements. The owner of a unit will have the right to exclusive use of their unit and a right in common with other unit owners to use common areas, with an obligation to share in expenses and repair costs. The condominium documentation will often specify whether the unit owner or the condominium corporation is responsible for replacement of doors and windows, whether pets are allowed, and whether the unit can be rented to tenants.



While not every refinancing will involve your lawyer,   quite often your lender will ask that your lawyer prepare and register documentation for a new mortgage and at the same time look after payout of a prior mortgage and possibly other debts and obligations.  This can usually be done quickly where there is no change in ownership of the property being mortgaged.  As we work on many different types of financing and refinancing projects with special situations, we can sometimes suggest options that may not yet have been considered for your particular situation.


Cottages in Parks and Mobile Homes

In some cases, such as cottages built on land leased from federal or provincial parks, or mobile homes situate on leased land, there is no transfer of the land registered at the land titles office but there are still many formalities to be attended to when there is a sale or purchase or refinancing.  Where land is leased from a park, the park authorities will need to be involved in the transaction in order to properly record the changes in ownership.