Foreclosures in Nova Scotia

The foreclosure process in Nova Scotia

To help you better understand the foreclosure process in Nova Scotia, we asked experienced foreclosure lawyer Nicholas Mott, associate in the law firm Cox Palmer, to answer the most common questions. He represents lenders and mortgage holders in foreclosure proceedings before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

Cox & Palmer is a full-service law firm offering real estate services to individual and businesses.

How do I find out when and where a foreclosure public auction will be held?

All foreclosure auctions are advertised to the public in two locations. The document used to advertise the public auction is called the “Notice of Public Auction”. The first location is the newspaper. Two newspaper advertisements giving notice of the auction will be run prior to the auction. The newspaper used will vary depending on the location of the property in Nova Scotia. The second location is the courthouse in the county where the property is located. Typically, the notice is posted in a public place in the courthouse.

What information can I get for the property prior to the public auction?

The foreclosing bank and the lawyer representing the foreclosing bank are not obligated to provide any information about the property to the public beyond the information included in the Notice of Public Auction. However, all of the foreclosure related documents are available to the public and can be found in the courthouse for the county in which the foreclosure proceeding was started.

Can I view the property before the public auction takes place?

This depends on a number of factors. In some cases, the property is occupied by the mortgagor(s) or tenant(s) up to the date of the public auction. In these cases, the foreclosing bank does not have access to the property. In other cases, the property is vacant and the foreclosing bank has taken possession of the property. It is at the discretion of the foreclosing bank whether they allow anyone to view the property prior to the public auction. The foreclosing bank is not obligated to do so.

How can I prepare for the public auction?

If you are the successful bidder at the auction, you will have to pay 10% of the purchase price to the Sheriff or person who conducted the auction immediately following the auction. Prior to the auction, you may wish to determine the maximum amount you are prepared to pay for the property and bring 10% of that amount to the auction in the form of cash, certified cheque or solicitor’s trust cheque. If the Notice of Public Auction does not indicate who your cheque should be made payable to, you can call the Sheriff or person appointed to conduct the auction to obtain this information.

Who will be at the public auction?

There will always be at least two people in attendance at every auction. One is the Sheriff or person appointed to conduct the auction. The other is the lawyer or representative for the foreclosing bank.

Does the foreclosing bank always bid on the property at the public auction?

In most cases, yes.

Can I determine how high the foreclosing bank will bid at the public auction?

This is difficult to do. In most cases, the bank will obtain an appraisal of the property prior to the auction. In most cases, if the property is appraised at less than the mortgage debt, the foreclosing bank will stop bidding at the appraised value of the property. In most cases, if the property is appraised at more than the mortgage debt, the foreclosing bank will stop bidding at the mortgage debt amount.

Will the foreclosing bank share its appraisal information prior to the auction?

In most cases, no. The foreclosing bank is not obligated to do so.

If the property is in the possession of the foreclosing bank at the time of the public auction, can I assume that the foreclosing bank has cleaned the property and made all necessary repairs?

The foreclosing bank is not obligated to do anything to the property prior to the public auction. Most banks will not complete any cleaning or repairs to the property prior to the public auction. The property is being sold at the public auction “as is, where is”.

If the property is in the possession of the foreclosing bank at the time of the public auction, will the bank turn over possession of the property to the buyer at the public auction immediately following the public auction?

The foreclosing bank will not turn over possession of the property to the buyer at the auction until the buyer has completed the sale with the Sheriff or person who conducted the public auction. Until the sale has been completed and the Deed to the property has been issued, the property remains under control of the foreclosing bank.

What if I buy a property at public auction and I need an appraisal of the property to obtain financing in order to complete the sale with the Sheriff or person who conducted the auction?

In this case, after buying the property at the auction you will need to contact the lawyer representing the foreclosing bank and ask him/her for access to the property to complete your appraisal. The bank is not obligated to give the buyer access to the property before the sale is completed with the Sheriff or person who conducted the auction. However, most banks will provide access to the property for an appraisal in order to allow the buyer to obtain financing and complete the sale. The buyer of the property at the public auction must complete the sale with the Sheriff or person who conducted the public auction within 15 business days of the public auction. If the buyer does not complete the sale with the Sheriff or person who conducted the auction within this 15 day period, the sale is terminated and the buyer forfeits his/her 10% deposit paid at the auction.

What if I can’t complete the purchase within 15 days following the auction and I need more time?

You can contact the lawyer for the foreclosing bank and request a maximum extension of a further 15 days to complete the purchase. The foreclosing bank is not obligated to grant a time extension and may deny your request.

What happens if I buy a property at the public auction and it is occupied by the mortgagor(s) or tenant(s)?

If you buy a property at a foreclosure auction that is occupied, the removal of the occupants is your responsibility. You are buying the property “as is, where is”. The foreclosing bank is not responsible for the removal of any parties from the property before or after the auction.

What do I have to do after I complete the purchase of the property?

Upon payment of the remaining balance to complete the sale, the Sheriff or person who conducted the public auction will issue you a Deed to the property. Please note that the Sheriff or person who conducted the auction is not responsible for preparing the actual Deed document which will usually be drafted by the foreclosing lender, based on restrictions from the successful bidder of auction. The Deed must be recorded at the Land Registration Office for the county in which the property is located. You may wish to have a lawyer record the Deed for you. If the property has not been converted onto the land registration system, the purchaser must do so and bare the cost of doing so before the Deed can be recorded. The purchaser is also responsible for the payment of deed transfer tax when the Deed is recorded.

Note: There is no publicly accessible online registry of all foreclosures in Nova Scotia. ViewPoint manually sources and enters the foreclosure information which appears on the website on a best efforts basis as a service to our customers and clients.