During real estate transactions, a notary performs work for the seller, including ensuring the seller’s mortgage loan is paid, so the seller must assume the fees accordingly.
In a real estate transaction, the notary acts for both the seller and the buyer, even when the buyer chooses the notary. Therefore, the notary works for both parties.
For example, if the seller contracted a mortgage loan to buy the house and there is a remaining balance, the notary has to ensure that the seller’s mortgage is paid in full in order to proceed with the sale of the property. The notary will reimburse the seller’s lender using the money from the sale and will then obtain the discharge for the seller’s mortgage loan, which must be filed with the land registry. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay the notary’s fees for preparing the discharge for the mortgage loan. The notary also has to ensure that all the municipal and school taxes have been paid by the seller, by obtaining official tax statements from the municipality. The notary can charge a fee for this verification.
The seller also has to reimburse the money that the notary disbursed on the seller’s behalf, including:
- Costs for registering the discharge in the land registry
- Costs for obtaining the official tax statements
- Costs for obtaining the co-ownership statement of common expenses, if applicable
- Costs for issuing cheques for the real estate broker, the location certificate, tax arrears, etc.
- Costs for managing the trust accounting carried out for the seller
Bear in mind that the notary’s invoice includes fees, disbursements and taxes (GST and QST).
Are the fees set by the Chambre des notaires?
There is no mandatory rate set by the Chambre des notaires du Québec for notaries’ fees. The fees are regulated by the Code of ethics of notaries in that they must be based on several criteria, including the time and effort spent on the file, its complexity and the notary’s expertise. These fees must be fair and reasonable. The Code of ethics imposes certain rules that the notary must respect. In addition, the notary must inform clients in advance of approximate costs and any applicable changes, and provide a detailed invoice (account for fees).
If you believe your bill is excessive, you can contact the fee conciliation service of the Chambre des notaires. The service is free for clients, who have 45 days after the receipt of the account for fees (bill), whether or not it is paid, to use it. The notary concerned is obliged to take part in the conciliation process.
Conciliation is an informal, free of charge process through which the conciliator tries to help the client and the notary agree on a mutually satisfactory fee amount.