NOTE: Standard 5.2 and 5.3 combined on February 28, 2014 to form the Standard 5.2 below.


A lawyer who represents a client in a transaction that includes the purchase and sale of personal property must consider whether to search the Personal Property Registration System (“P.P.R.S.”) for encumbrances and judgments which may attach to the property under conveyance, or to all of the vendor’s or purchaser’s personal property.1

A lawyer who considers whether to conduct a P.P.R.S. search may consider the exemptions for consumer goods having a purchase price of $1,000.00 or less.2

A lawyer who conducts a P.P.R.S. search must search the serial number if the personal property includes serial numbered goods as defined,3 and in all cases search the name of the “debtor, having regard to the PPSA naming rules”4 When reporting the results of such searches, the lawyer should not certify title to personal property except that they have not found any relevant filings in the Nova Scotia PPRS, or as the case may be.5

A lawyer must consider the possibility of other security instruments, statutory liens, or deemed trusts that may affect the personal property.6

A lawyer who represents a lender where the collateral includes personal property must consider registering a notice in the land registry to protect perfection of the security interest in the event the personal property becomes a fixture.7

A lawyer for the purchaser of a mobile home should inform the relevant municipal official or Property Valuation Services Corporation of the transfer.


  1. Personal Property Security Act, S.N.S. 1995-96, c. 13.
  2. Personal Property Security Act, S.N.S. 1995-96, c. 13, s.31 & Creditors Relief Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c.112, s.2B(6).
  3. See Personal Property Security Act – General Regulations, N.S. Reg. 129/97 for the definition of “serial numbered goods.”
  4. Personal Property Security Act, S.N.S. 1995-96, c. 13, s.2(1)(m) defines “debtor” to include owners, obligors and transferees in various circumstances. Therefore the buyer and seller should both be searched in purchase and sale transactions, and the owner should be searched in refinancing transactions. See Section 20 of the PPRS regulations, supra, which sets out the naming requirements for registration. See also referenced materials: “What’s in a Name?: PPSA Registration Name Requirements” from LIANSwers edition 66, November 2020 (page 20); and “’Caught in the Middle’: PPSA Requires Full Name” from LIANSwers edition 60, November 2019 (page 1).
  5. R. Wright, “Certifying the Uncertifiable – Chattels” (1993) 5. The Claims Wise Bulletin No. 29 at 2.
  6. These may arise, for example, under the Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.1 (5th Supp.), Excise Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.E-15, the Bank Act, S.C. 1991, c.46, s.427, municipal liens and liens in foreign jurisdictions. While these will not apply to personal property in most residential transactions, the lawyer should have regard to these kinds of charges when considering transactions involving personal property.
  7. Personal Property Security Act, S.N.S. 1995-96, c. 13, ss. 37 and 50; Registry Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 392, ss. 1A(1) and 18A; Land Registration Act, S.N.S. 2001, c. 6, s. 59.

Practice Notes

The potential for personal property to become a fixture will often affect security interests in mobile homes, modular homes, furnaces and water heaters, for example. Typical lenders’ instructions on mobile home and modular home transactions vary, and often include express instructions not to register the security in the land registry. It is recommended that lawyers review the lenders’ instructions in each case to determine the extent of their obligations.

A lawyer should always search by name, and variants thereof, as well as (where applicable) by serial number. Rizzatto (Re), 2020 NSSC 63

Additional Resources

Manufactured Home Transfer Form: Bridgewater (PVSC)

Manufactured Home Transfer Form: Dartmouth (PVSC)

Manufactured Home Transfer Form: Port Hawkesbury (PVSC)

Manufactured Home Transfer Form: Truro (PVSC)

MacLean KC, Ian H. / “Personal Property Security Act and Regulations as they apply to mobile homes: Some basic principles” (April 2014)

Approved by Council on February 28, 2014; amended March 22, 2024.