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Quebec home sale contracts, mortgage deeds must now be in French


As of Thursday, contracts for home sales in Quebec must be in French as part of language law Bill 96.

The provision applies to all Quebecers, even in circumstances where English-speaking sellers are working with English-speaking buyers.

If the contract can't be written in French to begin with, a translator must be hired.

According to notary Lorena Lopez Gonzalez, this rule means more costs and more time spent for Anglophones.

"It's [an] extra job, extra fees for the client, and extra delays. So what we used to do in two days could take two weeks," Gonzalez told CTV News.

The cost of the translation can range from $400 to $1,200, and a notary may charge additional fees to review the translation.

While many will simply choose to have the documents written in French, Gonzalez says it's important the buyers and sellers understand what they're agreeing to.

"They're not buying a pair of jeans," she said. "We are talking about contracts of hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The new rule also applies to mortgage deeds, including if you're refinancing your home.

"When you're signing a contract for one of the biggest transactions of your life, you want to be comfortable," said realtor Rebecca Sohmer.

Sohmer fears the new rule will turn off a lot of clients.

"Either you're asking two anglophone parties to sign an extremely important legal document in a language they aren't comfortable in, or you're saying 'sign it in English, but then we're going to ding you with an extra cost -- $400 to $1200, just so it can sit in the land registry in French.'"

"How that protects the French language makes no sense," Sohmer added.

Gonzalez asks the same question.

"I love the French language, but I don't think that the publication of deeds in French protects the language in any way," she said.

The Quebec notaries association says it's working to find cheaper solutions for those requiring English documents. Top Stories

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