Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dinner at a Luxury Mansion Casa Loma Toronto

While we are so quick to point out the negatives of taxation, the TTC, Construction in the summer, St Clair business and road expansion, The Roncesvalles reconstruction, Metrolinx rail land use for a commuters lines to the airport and a variety of Hot Button issues. Joe Mihevc attended at a Networking Meeting Up and Dinner at Casa Loma this past May 20th, (This event is held monthly and hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma.) and [he] spoke from the perspective of the glass is half full.

In a cheerful and articulate presentation Mr. Mihevc made some interesting points about life and opportunities in Toronto.
Here are some of the points made at the Kiwanis evening, by Joe Mihevc

Quality of Life…Toronto is:

1 - National Geographic rates Toronto the most civil and civilized city in the world

2 – Number 2 in North America for quality of living (mercer Consulting)

3 – Best international city for work and family (Fortune Magazine)

One of the lowest crime rates of any city of comparable size. Readers Digest surveyed 32 cities in the world leaving wallets in public places to see which ones would be returned. Toronto came in second after Ljubljana, Slovenia.

4 – Culturally, Toeonto is a mecca with 100 festival, 125 musems, 50 ballet and dance companies, 6 opera companies, the third largest centre for film and TV in the world, the third largest English language Theatre market in the world.

5 – Toronto’s GDP is bigger than the City of Hong Kong and the entire countries of Ireland and Finland

6 – headquarters for the 5 largest domestic banks

7 - headquarters for Canada’s six largest insurers, including ManuLife and Sun which are 2 of the top 10 in the world

8 – TSX is the third largest stock exchange in North America

9 – Moodys has rated only 3 banks in North America are AAA; two are Canadian, TD and the Royal.

10 – Toronto is the third largest financial services centre in North America behind New York and Chicago

There is much to be proud of with our city. It is a point worth remembering when the media focuses on the negatives.

Mr. Mhevic pointed out very accurately that the business and employment opportunities combined with financial stability and head offices of our financial institutions make Toronto the Mecca for seeking employment. Our stability in banking, legal systems and real estate are constantly proving to be good investments. Toronto is in the Top 3 in North America grouped with San Francisco and New York City as growing and prosperous Knowledge Based economies. Yes there are things that need attention, So.. lets work on them.

There will be another event next month If you would like to be informed drop a note on either or

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CMHC Insurance Premiums Taxable

With the impending introduction of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax0 I had a few questions about CMHC Insurance Premiums and their own additional taxes. CMHC insurance premiums apply at the request of the Lender to provide additional comfort and security or by Legislation where a Borrower is required by the lender to provide Mortgage Insurance.

The CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance premium is calculated as a percentage of the loan and is based on the size of your down payment. The higher the percentage of the total house price/value that you borrow, the higher percentage you will pay in insurance premiums.

Remember: without mortgage insurance you may avoid the insurance premium but you’ll typically pay much higher interest rates and additional administrative fees. At the end of the day, for the vast majority of borrowers, the cost of CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance is more than fully offset by the savings achieved. Source

I made direct inquiries with the Ministry of Revenue; Tax Advisory Branch and was directed to a Ms. Nancy Blasiak, Tax Advisory Specialist, who very kindly answered the request for information and responded in writing with the correct tax circular and a complete definitive answer. CMHC Insurance premiums are not subject to the combined HST, they do however continue to accrue the (currently) 8% Provincial Sales Tax.

CMHC Insurance Premiums are not Subject to HST

While we are generally focused on the issues in our lives and the daily chores, delights and drama's that command our attention, I need to pay attention to the details so I can answer your questions knowledgeably. If I can be of assistance to you, in achieving your goals, give me a call.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Property Showcase Bungalow on Nineteenth

Charming Two Bedroom Bungalow at Lakeshore and Kipling

Well presented two bedroom bungalow on a quiet street near Lakeshore and Kipling seeks new occupant. Kitchen and Bathrooms, windows and wiring have been updated. Living / Dining has been opened up as open concept, with new cupboards, ceramic backsplash and island. Updated Bathroom with Subway style ceramic tiles, pedestal sink and water saver toilet.

House Pictures

Pretty Pretty Back yard with garden and water feature beside single car garage and private driveway. Crushed stone Pathways, mature plants and flowering shrubs. This house has partially finished basement.

Asking $ 385,000 Closing in 30 days Taxes are $2,780 M8V 3L3

Monday, May 3, 2010

Land survey most important document in real estate transaction

The sad tale of the Glenlake Ave. driveway featured in the Star late last month has focussed public attention on the difference between the Land Registry and the Land Titles systems of property ownership. It has underscored yet again the fact that the single most important document in any real estate transaction is the land survey — formally known as surveyor’s real property report.

As reported in the Star, the Perkovic family owns 104 Glenlake Ave. in Toronto’s west end, and the Roslins recently purchased the house next door at 106. In between the two properties is a wide driveway, leading to the back of both properties and to the Perkovics’ double garage on the west and the Roslins’ parking area to the east.
For 33 years, the Perkovics had been using it to access their garage. Unfortunately for them, they only own a small strip beside their house — not wide enough for a car to navigate. Recently, the Roslins blocked access by the Perkovics to their driveway.
Had the properties been registered in the old Land Registry system, the Perkovics would probably have acquired a right to the continued use of the driveway. In law, this is known as an easement by prescription, or a right of way resulting from continuous use for more than 20 years.
But since both houses were originally registered under the newer Land Titles system, the “squatter’s rights” rules do not apply and the Perkovics have no right of vehicular access to their double garage.
The Glenlake Ave. dispute can be compared to the case of Amar and Brown v. Fricker, which was heard in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court last October. The parties to the litigation own adjacent properties on Robie St. in Halifax. Title is registered under the Registry system.
The houses are separated by approximately 11 feet (Nova Scotia judges still use Imperial measurements). Eight feet of the driveway are owned by Mitchell Amar and Diana Brown, and three feet by their neighbours, Aubrey and Joan Fricker.
For many years Amar and Brown and the prior owners of their house enjoyed what one witness at the trial called “friendly mutual access to the space between the houses.”
The Frickers were not using their three-foot strip as a driveway. Recently, they built a fence along the property line, ending the ability of Amar and Brown to use the driveway. Although the remaining eight feet of the driveway which they owned was wide enough to allow a car to pass through, it was not wide enough to allow the car doors to be opened.
One person who tried to get his van up the narrow passage had to exit through the rear door because there was not enough room to open the passenger doors.
Eventually, the neighbours wound up in court. Amar and Brown claimed a right of way (also known as an easement by prescription) over the three-foot strip and an order requiring removal of the fence.
The Frickers, who built the fence, claimed damages for trespass over their three-foot strip before the fence was built.
After a two-day trial, Justice Suzanne Hood found that the usage of the driveway strip by Amar and Brown and the previous owners of their property was open, continuous since the 1980s, unobstructed and without the permission of the owners of the three-foot strip.
The judge ruled that Amar and Brown had an easement over the Fricker portion of the driveway, and ordered the Frickers to remove the fence.
Amar and Brown were awarded damages of $1,000 for interference with the driveway and $3,000 for costs.
The lesson from the Nova Scotia case and the Glenlake Ave. dispute in Toronto is for buyers to review the land survey and deed description with their lawyers very carefully before closing a home purchase. Knowing where the property begins and ends and what rights of passage are included or excluded is of critical importance.

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818. Visit the column archives at for articles on this and other topics.