Pre-emptive right

Last updated May 19, 2022

The pre-emptive right gives the city the priority to purchase certain buildings or lots in order to create community projects. Are you the owner of a building affected by this measure? Find out everything you need to know about the pre-emptive right.

The city wants to improve residents’ quality of life by building libraries, sports centres and parks, developing social and affordable housing and protecting our history. It has identified certain strategic areas in which to create these projects. If your building is subject to the pre-emptive right, a bailiff will serve you with a notice.
If you decide to sell your building in the years to come, the city will have priority over other buyers in choosing to purchase it.

If you receive a Notice of Pre-Emptive Right

Is your building subject to the pre-emptive right? You will remain the owner of your building until you decide to sell it.  

You are under no obligation to sell your building to anyone. You maintain all your ownership rights and must continue to fulfill your obligations as an owner.

Selling a building that is subject to the pre-emptive right

You cannot refuse a Notice of Pre-Emptive Right. You are legally obliged to send the city a Notice of Intent to Alienate an Immovable before accepting a purchase offer. Otherwise, the city could cancel the sale.

The city has the right to purchase your building over any other buyer. If you decide to sell your building over the next 10 years, the city has the right to purchase it over any other buyer.

Buying a building that is subject to the pre-emptive right

Any potential buyer can find out if the city has a pre-emptive right over his or her building by viewing the land register.

When the buyer accepts a purchase offer, he or she sends the city a Notice of Intent to Alienate an Immovable. The city then has 60 days to decide whether it wants to purchase the building. There are two possible situations:

  • The city decides to purchase the building: It provides compensation to the owner for reasonable fees incurred in connection with his or her promise of purchase, such as inspection fees, and acquires the building.
  • The city decides not to purchase the building and the sale takes place with the buyer: The city then loses its pre-emptive right over the building.

Steps of the pre-emptive right

Registration of the building

The city records a Notice of Pre-Emptive Right on your building’s record in the land register. A pre-emptive right remains valid for 10 years.

Notice of Pre-Emptive Right

You are served with a notice that your building is subject to the pre-emptive right. You have no action to take as long as you have not accepted an offer to purchase your building.

Notice of Intent

Did you receive a signed and accepted purchase offer? You must advise the city of your intent to “alienate an immovable” that is subject to the pre-emptive right by completing a form and sending it to the city.

Inspection of the building

When you advise the city that you have accepted a purchase offer and intend to alienate the immovable, it may ask you for additional information and inspect the building.


Once the city receives your notice of intent, it has 60 days to exercise its pre-emptive right.

After 60 days, if the city has not declared its intent to purchase the building, the transaction can take place and the city loses its pre-emptive right.

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