Buying and selling a property
We’re here to help guide you through the purchase or sale of your property. By reviewing the information below, we can assist you by:
- Offering solutions or alternatives when considering the sale or purchase of a new home
- Ensuring Real Property Reports comply with the Land Use Bylaw
- Processing your RPR for Certificate of Compliance
- Transitioning you smoothly through application processes
Please chat with us if you have any questions while reviewing this page.
How do I obtain a Certificate of Compliance?
Step 1: Prepare your property for a survey
The survey should reflect the current state of the property and include all structures. You should remove or take down any structures that will not be part of the sale, including any temporary structures or coverings.
Step 2: Obtain a current Real Property Report
Employ a registered Alberta land surveyor to create a new or updated Real Property Report. Please visit Alberta Land Surveyors' Association for more information. Rates for this service will vary so it is advised you shop around to find a surveyor that meets your needs.
Step 3: Apply for a Certificate of Compliance
Submit the application once you have provided all the documentation required. Use our Development Permit/Planning Applications Fee Schedule to estimate the cost of your compliance.
In person or by mail
Selling a Property?
Certificate of Compliance
A Certificate of Compliance is a confirmation from The City of Calgary that the locations of structures on a property comply with the Land Use Bylaw . This is confirmed on a Real Property Report prepared by an Alberta land surveyor. It does not regulate or enforce any building code requirements or serve as a confirmation of permit history on a property.
A Certificate of Compliance is usually required by lending agencies or lawyers in the sale of a property and/or mortgage approval to protect their clients' investments. Standard real estate purchase contracts often require the vendor to obtain a compliance certificate. A Certificate of Compliance is not a legislative requirement, but rather a service provided by The City of Calgary. The City does not require you to get a compliance certificate and will not intervene in private transactions.
Sales, leases, and other agreements often require a Certificate of Compliance for the protection of interested parties. This is a private condition between the parties and may not always be required.
Non-compliant structures from before you owned a property may hinder receiving a Certificate of Compliance for your property. Please see the section on buying a property for more information.
The Real Property Report should be an accurate reflection of the current state of the site, showing all structures (i.e. houses, decks, sheds, fences, retaining walls, window wells, A/C units, etc.) located on the property. Consider the following points before submitting your application for compliance:
- Altered Real Property Reports, unclear plans and plot plans will not be accepted. A Real Property Report can only be updated by an Alberta land surveyor and must be signed and dated.
- The City cannot provide copies of previous surveys due to copyright laws.
- A Real Property Report stating "under construction" or "foundation only" can only be accepted if it is submitted within 12 months of the date of the survey.
Timelines and Fees
Online applications for low density residential properties will typically be reviewed within 24 hours. At this time we may notify you that the application is approved. If you do not receive a notification, it has been determined that additional review will be required.
- If additional review is required, we will require an additional 7-14 days to come to a decision.
Online applications for commercial/industrial/multi-residential properties will receive a response within 14 days.
- For an additional fee you can request an expedited timeline of 7 days.
Please see the fee schedule for all associated fees.
For immediate concerns please contact the planning services centre.
A Certificate of Compliance will be granted if the property meets Land Use Bylaw requirements.
If your Certificate of Compliance is not approved there are some additional options you can explore to receive an approval.
Remove the structure
If it is a minor issue it may be easiest to remove or modify the structure creating the problem. This option depends on the feasibility and cost of removing the structure as well as the importance of the structure to the sale.
If the structure is removed or modified and the survey is updated to reflect the change you can resubmit your Real Property Report within one year at no cost.
Relax the rule
You can apply for planning approval to relax one or more land use bylaw rules by submitting a development permit. If the Certificate of Compliance is not approved we will contact you with the option of providing colour photos of the structure and payment for the development permit. Once both items are received we will continue the approval process for you.
Please see requirements list for relaxation of an existing structure for full application requirements.
Relaxations are not guaranteed and are evaluated on a case by case basis. Every relaxation is unique and can impact neighbours and the surrounding community. Because of the potential impact, all affected parties will have the opportunity to provide input.
For more information on the development permit process please see here.
When a Certificate of Compliance is granted there is a possibility it may indicate there is an encroachment into City owned land or a City right-of-way. Please visit our page on encroachments for more information.
Residential Real Property Reports
These types of real property surveys indicate the land and the building are owned by the individual resident.
Commercial and Multifamily Real Property Reports
These types of real property surveys indicate the building may have owners for individual units, but the land is collectively owned by the unit owners and is known as common property. The common property typically includes: hallways, elevators, recreation amenities and building exteriors, such as the roof and the land
Permits for previous work
To avoid any delays or hang ups, you may want to verify that all permits and inspections for previous work on the property have been completed. To see the last 3 years permit activity on your property please visit myProperty. For permit history prior to 3 years please make a property research request.
Buying a property
It is recommended that you ask for a current Real Property Report with a Certificate of Compliance when buying a property. This ensures that you are not taking responsibility for previous structures that do not adhere to the land use bylaw.
A Certificate of Compliance does not check that permits for new structures or improvements to the property were properly obtained and inspected. Please see the section on previous permits for more information.
A third-party home inspection is conducted by a private company that is not affiliated with the City of Calgary and is typically requested by a prospective home buyer. This inspection is non-invasive and will help determine the overall condition of the house.
While a third-party home inspection may reveal information that is valuable in making your decision to purchase a property, it does not ensure there are no hidden issues with concealed work. Some of the questions to ask a third party home inspector are:
- Grading: Is the grade around my entire home sloped away from my foundation walls and window wells?
- Smoke alarms: How do I test the smoke detector?
- Ventilation: What is a ventilation switch? Should it be on or off? How does it work with the heating system?
- Furnace: Where is the disconnect breaker or switch located for the furnace?
- Water: Where is the main water shut off?
- Electrical: Where is the electrical panel? How do I turn breakers on and off and how do I reset them?
- Detectors: Where are the smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, arc fault circuit interrupters and ground fault circuit interrupters? Where are the instruction manuals that are provided with these devices?
- Eavestroughs: Are the eavestrough down spouts connected and directed away from my home and not towards my neighbour?
If you are looking for information on work that has been done to a property you can visit myProperty to see the permit history for the last 3 years. If you would like information older than 3 years you can make a property research request. If you have any further questions please contact the planning services centre.
Work previously completed without permits can be inspected by The City, but the proper permits must be obtained first.
A building permit can be applied for by
- The homeowner,
- A representative of the homeowner, or
- A contractor or professional
The application must provide the same requirements as an application for new construction. During the framing inspection, portions of the drywall may need to be removed to expose the work that was done.
An electrical, plumbing, gas, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) permit must be obtained by a registered and licensed contractor.
Once a contractor is hired they will assess the work and obtain the correct permit. Additional work may be required by the contractor to bring it up to code and then a city inspection should be requested though 311.
Ultimately the homeowner is responsible for any previous concealed work.
Please visit calgary.ca/homeimprovement to view information on each individual project type and its requirements.
If work has been started or completed without a permit, and no action has been done to correct the situation, there could be consequences such as:
- Enforcement action issued by a City inspector.
- A fine for building without a permit.
- Having to undo work that has been completed.
- Future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim.
- Having to do more work than was originally planned and budgeted.
As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying any penalties, even if you hired a contractor who assured you permits were not needed. If you are unsure if you need a permit, contact the Planning Services Centre. Find out if your contractor has a City of Calgary business license with our Licensed Trade Contractor List.