Most people in Ontario buy and sell at least one house in their lives and, accordingly, become a subject to real estate laws and regulations. Perhaps more than any other area of law, real estate law is viewed by the public as a straight forward process. This is a misconception. In fact, real estate law is complex, particularly because it is affected by so many other areas of the law. Aspects of family law, environmental law, tax law, corporate commercial law, wills and estates, and other areas impinge on real estate law. In addition, there is a multitude of legislation that deals with residential real estate law, whether it be for the purchase of recreational or farm property, a condominium, a co-operative, or a resale of newly constructed home. Real estate law is further complicated by the parties to the transaction. Special considerations apply if either the vendor or the purchaser is a company, married, a minor, mentally incompetent, a religious or educational organization, a government body, a trustee, a non-resident of Canada, or dead.
In 1998, the Government of Ontario (specifically what is now the Ministry of Government Services) together with Teranet Land Information Systems, introduced a new electronic registration system in Ontario. This new system, called Teranet, is designed to eliminate paper basedregistration for real property in the Land Titles system. It is now manadatory for certain parts of Ontario and is being rolled out gradually throught the rest of the province. Although the Ontario government divested its half interest in Teranet effective August of 2003, it continues to own the data in the land registration system, be accountable for its integrity and accuracy, and oversee and regulate statutory land registration in Ontario.