If you’re a homeowner in Alberta, it’s important to understand the concept of Dower Rights. Dower Rights are a set of legal rights that protect a married person’s rights to occupy their home and use its contents, which are owned in the name of their spouse. These rights are protected under the Dower Act in Alberta,  which states that neither spouse may sell or mortgage the home without the other’s written consent.

If you’re a married person looking to sell or mortgage your home in Alberta, you need to be aware of Dower Rights. These rights are a spouse’s legal entitlement to occupy and use household contents in the dwelling place owned in the other spouse’s name. In this blog, we will provide you with an overview of what Dower Act in Alberta the rights it has, and how it can impact a home transaction in Alberta.

What are Dower Rights in Alberta?

Dower Rights are the rights of a married person to occupy the dwelling place or use household contents in that place that are owned in the name of their spouse. Under the Dower Act in Alberta, neither spouse can sell or mortgage the home without the other’s written consent. Dower Rights only apply to legally married couples and not to common-law or divorced couples. However, Dower Rights still exist for spouses who are separated but not yet divorced.

The original purpose of Dower Rights was to provide a wife and children with a place to live if her husband passed away. Over time, Dower Rights have been expanded to protect both husband and wife, but they have been eliminated in many provinces.

How can Dower Rights impact a home transaction?

Dower Rights Alberta

Dower Rights can impact a home transaction in Alberta if one party wants to sell the home but their spouse refuses to give their written consent. If this occurs, the title holder may apply to the Court of King’s Bench for a Court Order eliminating the need for their spouse’s consent. If the refusal is unreasonable or the spouse is not readily available to consent, the Court may allow the sale of the home without their consent.

If the home is sold without the spouse’s consent, the title holder may be liable to pay their spouse half of the value of the sale or half of the value of the property at the time of the sale, according to the Dower Act in Alberta.

How can Dower Rights be waived during a home sale?

Dower Rights Alberta

Two forms must be completed to legally sell a home in Alberta and waive Dower Rights. The first form, called the Dower Consent and Acknowledgment, must be completed before listing the property and signed in the presence of a commissioner of oaths. Once an offer is received, both parties should sign the purchase agreement. The second form, also called the Dower Consent and Acknowledgment, must be completed to sell the home and transfer the title. This form must also be signed in the presence of a commissioner of oaths.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to sell or mortgage your home in Alberta, it’s important to understand Dower Rights and how they can impact your transaction. Be sure to check the title of the property and whether you need your spouse’s written consent before proceeding with any sale or mortgage. If you have any questions or concerns about Dower Act in Alberta, or the rights consult with a qualified real estate lawyer who can guide you through the process.