Document policy irks realtors

A new policy coming up at city hall governing information it gives out prompted questions from city council

Councillor Marg Kentel

Councillor Marg Kentel

A new policy coming up at city hall governing information it gives out prompted questions from city council.

Both Coun. Marg Kentel, as a realtor, and Coun. Chad Eliason, as a mortgage broker, asked about the changes.

The city’s corporate officer Erin Jackson said the city is planning to stop distribution of land title documents effective Jan. 1, 2015. That will include such documents as property plot plans, Land Title Act covenants and related plans, statutory rights of way, private easements, land-use contracts and phased development agreements.

“First of all, the land title authority has asked us to stop doing it. It also poses a risk to the city,” Jackson said, noting that realtors and others who request the documents might be under the impression they are the most up-to-date, when they may not be.

“There are other ways for these different groups to obtain the information.”

Those include contacting the land title office in Kamloops online or a notary public, for instance.

Jackson explained the city gets a lot of requests from real estate agents, property developers and other applicants. She said the city wants to provide access to records at the same time as protecting people’s privacy.

Realtors were given a letter on Sept. 29 advising them of the upcoming changes. Information on documents such as building permits will still be given out, but staff must go through them ahead of time to ensure they don’t include private information, perhaps on previous owners.

Jackson told council the city has had the ability to charge for such services but hasn’t been.

“We have every intention of providing it, we want to make sure we’re not allowing personal information into individuals’ hands that it shouldn’t be.”

Kentel said other municipalities and regional districts are charging for plot plans at a cost of more than $40.

“When someone comes to look at a piece of property, we have to know where the boundaries are. I think it’s a money grab – just think how many plot plans there are… I’m looking forward to some kind of a tax decrease because of all this added income the province is going to get,” Kentel said to laughter. “Why not just a stamp (from the city) to say we can’t guarantee authenticity or it could be subject to change?”

Jackson added that she had a positive discussion with realtor Ken Magel of ReMax  and has agreed to come and speak at the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board’s annual general meeting in December.

For information on the new policy, Jackson can be reached by phone at 250-803-4029 or via email at: ejackson@salmonarm.ca.