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Dower Consent and Real Estate

Dower Consent.  Sounds like something from the dark ages, but in the Province of Alberta it is an important document relating to the Dower Consent Act and has to do with another party foregoing their right to a property and therefore, not impeding the sale of said property.  In fact, Alberta is the only province in Canada with a Dower Act.

When a client wants to sell a property I pull Title to see if they are indeed the legal owners of the property.  If I only see one name on Title I must ask two questions of this individual:  1.  Are you legally married?  2.  If yes, have either you or your spouse resided on the property at any time since your marriage?  If the answer to both questions is yes, then a Dower Consent and Acknowledgement must be signed in front of a Commissioner of Oaths by the unnamed spouse.  It must be signed at the time the property is listed and another one must be signed again at the time of an accepted sale.  This act includes a separated couple not yet legally divorced, but does not include a couple in a common law relationship. What does "reside" mean?  If the individual on Title or the spouse has slept at the property even just once, then they have resided on the property!

These questions are asked within the Listing Contract.  You can see that a Realtor really must be paying attention in order to keep you out of trouble!  Thanks for reading!

By Patrick Murray