Contributing Editor: Edward Brown
Updated: June 2016


Question 1: Under which legislation is the registration system governed?


Common law and legislation: a) primarily Real Property Act (Torrens system titled lands) and Registry Act (the “old” landholding system); and b) to a lesser degree, Mortgage Act and Law of Property Act.

Possessory Title

Question 2: Can title to property be obtained by adverse possession over a period of time?


Yes, for land under the Registry Act. After 20 years (subject to certain requirements).

No, for land under the Real Property Act. Although if at the time the land is moved from the Registry Act to the Real Property Act, someone had already established a claim for ownership by adverse possession, that ownership claim could be used to challenge the Real Property Act title holder's ownership.

Most land in the province (especially in cities, towns, etc.) is under the Real Property Act.

Title Search Period

Question 3: What is the title search period?


For Registry Act lands, no time limitation (Manitoba does not have any "quieting of titles" legislation).

For lands under Real Property Act, nil (the concept is inapplicable to Manitoba titled lands).

Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS)

Question 4: Is there a standard APS used for most transactions or is it tailored for each property?  Who generally prepares the agreement?


Residential transactions:

Where a real estate broker (licensed and regulated under the Manitoba Real Estate Brokers Act (MREBA)) is involved, the standard form of offer to purchase and acceptance mandated under the MREBA must be used.

Although the real estate brokers' association would prefer that lawyers not use the form, it is readily available for solicitors who want to use it. Most accepted offers to purchase are finalized by realtors and signed and delivered by the parties before a lawyer is consulted. Where a licensed and regulated real estate broker is not involved, parties in the transaction are free to use whatever form of offer to purchase and acceptance they (or their lawyers) come up with.

Commercial transactions:

There is no statutorily mandated form of commercial property purchase and sale agreement. In Winnipeg, where a licensed and regulated real estate broker is involved and the broker is a member of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, the Board has a standard form of agreement that is usually used. If the broker is not a member of the Board or the transaction is occurring with respect to realty situated outside of Winnipeg, then the parties (or their solicitors) will draft their own form of agreement.

Access to Registry

Question 5: How is a search of title conducted?  How is registration completed?


A search of title must be conducted at the appropriate Land Titles Office where title is still in "paper" form.  However, where title is in "electronic" form, a searcher may conduct a search either at the Land Titles Office or remotely via electronic communication through the entity which provides the searching service (most lawyers are equipped to conduct electronic searches). Registration of instruments at a Land Titles Office is effected by submission of "paper" documents (which must be accompanied by a "real property registration application"), and to date, it is not possible to effect registrations electronically.

In October 2017, the use of electronic forms became mandatory.


Question 6: How are surveys part of the transaction?


To date, there is no requirement of a current survey for a property being sold and purchased (residential or commercial). However, the City of Winnipeg  indicated a desire to implement a regime that would, indirectly, obligate residential property owners to obtain a current survey as a condition of registering a transfer of land to their purchaser at the Land Titles Office.

While most lawyers believe it is important for a purchaser to obtain a current survey, their use has significantly declined over the last 15 years - coinciding with the availability of title insurance which insures losses sustained by "problems" that would have been ascertained prior to closing if a current survey had been obtained. The move from current surveys to title insurance has been driven primarily by mortgage lenders.


Question 7: How can property be held?


In Manitoba, real property can be held in the name or names of one or more “legal personalities” (i.e., individual persons or corporate entities) and in some instances, it can be held in the name of an individual (or a body corporate) acting as a trustee (or any trustee-like position) on behalf of one or more other persons (e.g., a trustee in bankruptcy or the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate). Where two or more natural persons hold title to real estate, they usually hold either as joint tenants (with the ultimate survivor acquiring all of the interest in the land) or as tenants in common, where each person’s interest may devolve upon his/her estate.


In most beneficial owner(s) – trustee situations involving real property, Land Titles System does not wish to take cognisance of/recognize that one person (or more) hold title in trust for one or more other persons. In particular, it does not wish to be responsible to ensure that an act by a trustee complies with the terms of the relevant trust. However, Land Titles does not permit one claiming to a beneficial interest in real property to file a caveat against the title giving notice of the same.


Question 8: What is the registration process?


In person, by mail or other delivery to the appropriate Land Titles Office (no remote/electronic registration available yet in Manitoba). Documents to be registered must be accompanied by a Registration Details Application.


For documents to be irrevocably registered, they must achieve “accepted” status. Completion of the registration process takes between two to fourteen business days, depending on volumes of registrations. Absent title insurance, or the use of the Western provinces conveyancing “Protocol”, the Manitoba custom is to not release value until “accepted” status is achieved.

Land Transfer Tax

Question 9: Is there a land transfer tax applicable to the usual transfer?  How is it known? How much? Are rebates available?


Transfers of titled freehold land are subject to land transfer tax.

  • No tax on sworn values of $30,000.00 or less;
  • ½ of 1% on sworn values between $30,000.00 and $90,000.00;
  • 1% on sworn values between $90,000.00 and $150,000.00;
  • 1½% on sworn values between $150,000.00 and $200,000.00; and,
  • 2% on sworn values in excess of $200,000.00.


Transfers of beneficial ownership (where title remains in the name of a trustee) are not subject to land transfer tax. Neither is long-term leasing. There are some exemptions (e.g. inter-spousal and inter-generational farmland transfers.)