This page gives legal information about residential mortgages. It does not give legal advice, and does not replace advice from other professionals, such as a credit counsellor, licensed insolvency trustee in bankruptcy, or mortgage advisor.  Look at the resources at the end of this section for help if you are having money problems. 

Talk with your lender right away if you are having trouble making your mortgage payments. 

Foreclosure allows a lender to sell your property at public auction if you don’t meet the conditions of your mortgage (default). It involves several stages. Talk with your lender as soon as you have trouble making mortgage payments.

If you receive a foreclosure notice, seek professional advice from credit counsellors, licensed insolvency trustees or mortgage advisors. The resources list at the end has more information.

We provide legal information to help you understand the process. This is not legal advice.

Foreclosure terms

When you default on your mortgage agreement, the lender can start the foreclosure process. These are some important terms used in that process:

Lender (mortgagee): a bank, credit union, private individual, insurance or loan company agree to lend you funds for a mortgage.

Borrower (mortgagor): The person or people who receive money from the lender and sign the mortgage.

Mortgage: An agreement or contract between a lender (mortgagee) and the borrower (mortgagor) who agrees that their property is security for the loan. Mortgages can take many forms. A lender can take a mortgage to secure the borrower's obligations, regardless of how the money is used.

Foreclosure: Lender goes through a legal process to get a court order to sell the mortgaged property at public auction.

Foreclosure Order (permission for foreclosure, possession and public auction sale): First, the lender must apply to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. If the application is successful, the court issues a Foreclosure Order allowing the lender to sell the mortgaged property at public auction. Money from the sale pays property taxes, auction fees, mortgage debt, legal and other costs.

Last Reviewed: October 2023

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Stephen Kingston at McInnes Cooper for reviewing this content.