The homeowner and potential buyer should really be aware of all the restrictions coming along with every alteration of the property that has been designed as a heritage site. Again, it’s the matter of fact that the homeowner must, to his best knowledge, make a full disclosure to the buyer. Furthermore, individuals who damage a heritage site could face possible fines of up to $50,000 or two years in jail.
According to the Heritage Conservation Act, before a property is designated as a heritage site by the Minister, the homeowner will be served a notice and has 30 days to object to the proposed designation. Once becoming a heritage site, there would be a notice filed in the personal property registry. In the case of the market value of the designed property going down as a result of the heritage designation, the owner may be entitled to compensation. Although Normal maintenance and repairs can be done at the homeowner’s discretion, the appearance of heritage property may not be altered without the consent of Municipalities.
Unlike heritage designation, an archaeological site has no accessible records whatsoever to help the public track down the status of properties. Only if you are suspicious, you can conduct an inquiry to the local municipality then the next, Archaeology Branch Office. The application may take up to two weeks for the result, though. What if a property locates on a designed Archaeological site, the homeowner won’t feel bothered until one day when he decides to subdivide the property. An archaeological assessment may be recommended by the Branch and paid by the homeowner. This cost can be very high – up to tens of thousands – and with no compensation.
As a buyer, when purchasing a property that’s going to be subdivided and there are Archaeological concerns occurring, simply asking the agent to add the following clause on the “Contract of Purchase and Sale” would be necessary:
Subject to the Buyers satisfying themselves on or before (date) regarding the potential effect of the Heritage Conservation Act on the use and / or development of the property. (This condition is for the sole benefit of the Buyer)