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BILL NO. 53
3rd Session, 56th General Assembly
44 Elizabeth II, 1995
An Act Respecting
Marketable Title to Land
The Honourable Sandra L. Jolly
Minister of Municipal Affairs
Printed by Queen's Printer for Nova Scotia
An Act Respecting
Marketable Title to Land
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Marketable Titles Act.
2 The purpose of this Act is to
(a) remove uncertainties respecting the determination of marketable titles to land
in the interests of all present and future landowners and facilitate the development of the
(b) remove uncertainties respecting the validity of past and future tax deeds.
3 In this Act,
(a) "chain of title" means a chain of title as described in subsection 4(2);
(b) "instrument" means a conveyance or other document by which the title to land
is changed or in any way affected, including a will or other testamentary instrument, a
grant from the Crown, a court order, a certificate of title under the Quieting Titles Act or
the Land Titles Clarification Act or a report of commissioners appointed to make
(c) "registered" means registered or filed in the registry of deeds for the
registration district within which the land is situate.
4 (1) A person has a marketable title to an interest in land if that person has a good
and sufficient chain of title during a period greater than forty years immediately preceding the
date the marketability is to be determined.
(2) A chain of title commences with the registered instrument, other than a will,
that conveys or purports to convey that interest in the land and is dated most recently before the
forty years immediately preceding the date the marketability is to be determined.
(3) Notwithstanding the Intestate Succession Act and the Descent of Property Act
but subject to Section 5, an interest in land that has not vested pursuant to an instrument that is
registered is extinguished by a registered instrument based on a marketable title upon the expiry
(a) the twenty-year period immediately following the vesting of the interest;
(b) the ten-year period immediately following the attainment of the age of
majority by the person with the interest;
(c) where the person with the interest is of unsound mind, the ten-year
period immediately following the person ceasing to be of unsound mind or the forty-year period immediately following the vesting of the interest, whichever is earlier;
(d) the five-year period immediately following the coming into force of this
whichever is latest.
(4) Nothing in this Section extinguishes any interest in land except as provided
by subsection (3).
5 (1) A person may preserve an interest in land that, but for this Section, could be
extinguished by subsection 4(3) by filing a notice of claim.
(2) A notice of claim shall be in the form prescribed by the regulations.
(3) A notice of claim shall include
(a) the name of the claimant;
(b) the names of the owners of all interests in the land known to the
(c) the address of the claimant;
(d) a description of the land in which the interest is claimed;
(e) the nature of the interest in the land claimed;
(f) a summary of the basis of the claim, including the recording particulars
of every instrument constituting the chain of title on which the claim is based; and
(g) such other information as the regulations prescribe.
(4) A notice of claim does not validate or extend an interest that has been
extinguished by subsection 4(3) or that has expired or is invalid.
(5) A new notice of claim may be registered pursuant to this Act and, for that
purpose, an earlier notice of claim is the instrument on which the claim is based.
(6) For greater certainty, lack of knowledge or absence from the Province on the
part of any person does not extend the period during which a notice of claim may be registered.
6 (1) In this Section, "tax deed" means
(a) a certificate that has or purports to have the effect of vesting land that
was to be sold for non-payment of taxes in a city, town, municipality of a county or
district, regional municipality, village commissioners or service commission as
defined by the Municipal Affairs Act; or
(b) a deed from a city, town, municipality of a county or district, regional
municipality, village commissioners or service commission as defined by the
Municipal Affairs Act to land sold or purportedly sold for non-payment of taxes.
(2) A tax deed may not be set aside for any reason whatsoever except during the
six years following registration of the tax deed, and thereafter the tax deed is binding and
conclusive upon all persons and is not liable to be attacked or impeached at law by any person,
and the tax deed conveys an absolute and indefeasible title in fee simple to the land described in
the tax deed and is conclusive evidence, with respect to the purchaser and every person claiming
through the purchaser, that every requirement for the proper assessment and sale of the land
has been met.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), a court may exclude from a tax deed all or
part of the lands described in the tax deed that the court finds were assessed to a person, other
than the person to whom the property was assessed when the lands were sold for arrears of
taxes, who has an interest in the lands or part thereof and in respect of which taxes were not in
arrears for more than one year at the time of the sale.
(4) Subsection (2) does not apply where a court finds that the current owner of
the land participated in a fraud or breach of trust with respect to the sale.
(5) Subsection (2) applies whether the tax deed was registered before or after the
coming into force of this Act.
(6) Subsection (2) does not deprive any person of any cause of action that person
may have for damages for the wrongful sale of land for taxes.
7 (1) This Act does not apply to
(a) any interest reserved to Her Majesty in a grant from Her Majesty;
(b) any interest in land created or preserved by a statute;
(c) the interest of Her Majesty or a municipal government in a public
street, road, highway or road reserve;
(d) a right of way or easement in favour of a public utility, Her Majesty or
a municipal government;
(e) mineral rights; or
(f) an easement or right of way that is being used and enjoyed.
(2) Subsections 4(1) and (2) do not apply to
(a) land in respect of which a certificate of title has been issued under the
Quieting Titles Act;
(b) land registered under the Land Titles Clarification Act or the Land
Titles Act; or
(c) any interest in land that a registered owner may no longer recover by
reason of the Limitation of Actions Act.
(3) Subsection 4(3) does not apply to an adverse interest acknowledged or
specifically referred to in the description of land in a deed forming part of the chain of title to
(4) Section 3 of the Limitation of Actions Act does not apply to any time period
set out in this Act.
8 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing the form of the notice of claim authorized by this Act;
(b) prescribing additional information to be included in a notice of claim;
(c) prescribing a system of indexing notices of claims;
(d) defining any word or expression used in this Act and not defined in this
(e) respecting any other matter or thing that the Governor in Council
considers necessary or advisable to effectively carry out the intent and purpose of
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority in subsection (1) is
regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
9 (1) Sections 4 and 6 have effect on and after January 1, 1997.
(2) Section 5 has effect on and after July 1, 1996.