Process to follow if selling land but keeping farm yard

Q: My husband and I have sold our farmland, but wish to retain our house and yard and a few acres of land so that we can remain living there for a few more years. What are the steps involved? 


A: The process to obtain a new title for a portion of an existing parcel of land involves a process called subdivision. 


It is the same process that is involved in the development of new housing areas in towns and cities.


In rural areas of Saskatchewan, subdivision applications are considered and approved by the government relations ministry’s community planning branch.


The process starts by hiring a qualified land surveyor or a professional community planner to survey the land and prepare a plan of proposed subdivision. 


It involves a full technical survey of the parcel being subdivided, with details of property lines, buildings existing on the property and the location of roads, railroads and waterways that may cross the land.


You will also need to be aware of the zoning bylaw for your municipality to ensure that the subdivision you are proposing is in compliance.


An application to subdivide land is then sent to the community planning branch, along with copies of the titles to the land being subdivided and payment for the basic fee for subdivision.


The community planning branch examines the following when considering an application for subdivision:


  • suitability of the site for the land use proposed

  • utility requirements

  • access requirements

  • water supply and waste disposal

  • flood protection and slope suit ability

  • compatibility with surrounding land uses


Most of these concerns will be routine when applying to subdivide a farmyard from a quarter section of land. 


However, subdivision factors become more complicated as the project becomes larger.


The community planning branch will issue a written decision, either approving the project, approving it with conditions or denying the application. 


The legislation includes an appeals process for when conditional approval is granted or the application is denied.


When a certificate of approval is issued for the subdivision, it must be sent with the plan of survey and other supporting documents to the land titles office for registration. 


Once that is done, a new title is issued for the new parcel, and your farmyard will be owned by you separately from the rest of the quarter section.


Many purchasers of land that contains a subdivided yard belonging to the sellers will ask for a right of first refusal in the event that the subdivided yard was ever sold. 


If such a right is granted by the seller, the usual practice is for the purchaser to register that right as a miscellaneous interest on your title, so that it could be clearly noticed by potential purchasers in the future.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The views expressed are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to McDougall Gauley LLP. Contact: [email protected]

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