land transfer tax

Your Commercial Real Estate Lawyer

Posted on by Behdad Hosseini
Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Laws

Commercial Real Estate Laws

Property law in Canada falls under provincial jurisdiction.

Property law in Ontario has developed through the English common law. Interests in land are generally held directly in fee simple or by leases as leasehold interests.

If you are thinking of expanding your business to Ontario and want to invest in commercial real estate here, you can choose from many legal structures.

They include:

  • a corporation
  • general partnership
  • a limited partnership
  • co-ownership (often referred to as a “joint venture”)
  • a trust
  • real estate investment trust
  • personal ownership
  • or any combination of these.


We can help with your choice of an appropriate investment structure by advising you on pertinent factors like tax planning requirements, liability issues, business considerations and foreign investor rules and regulations.

Ontario generally imposes no restrictions or prohibitions on foreign investors in land, whether natural or corporate. But certain taxing, reporting and registration provisions may apply.

Investors in real estate may acquire several types of interests in land, including full ownership (a “freehold” interest), an interest for a specified period (a “leasehold” interest) or a partial interest in a freehold or leasehold interest as co-owners under a joint venture.

If you’re thinking about buying commercial property here, we can advise about and draft the agreement of purchase and sale.

We will ensure it contains all necessary business terms for the transaction, such as:

  • the legal description of the land
  • purchase price, deposit(s)
  • closing date
  • purchaser’s right to search the title before completing the sale
  • title and/or due diligence periods
  • representations and warranties
  • and any other agreed upon terms and conditions.


We can conduct various searches to verify that the vendor has good title to the property and conduct other due diligence.

We can advise you on the various laws that might affect your situation. For instance, land use planning legislation, bylaws and regulations to control how real estate is developed.

If you are thinking about leasing, know that it is a complex area and there are several ways to lease property here. If you need financing, it is usually obtained from institutional lenders like banks.

You might need to know about the detailed statutes, laws, regulations, bylaws, guidelines and recommendations concerning the protection of the environment.

You would be prudent determine a property’s environmental status by inspecting applicable company and public records.

You should also be aware that property development and land use is mostly regulated at the municipal level through official plans and zoning bylaws and at the provincial level under the Planning Act.

Another consideration is the land transfer tax. Imposed at graduated rates, for most commercial transactions it is about 1.5% of the purchase price.

These are just some of examples of laws that affect a commercial real estate here.  For specialized advice on you particular situation, give us a call.

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