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Land Owner Transparency Act

The LAND OWNER TRANSPARENCY ACT is action to end hidden land ownership or in other words to report interests in ownership in land not reflected on the land title itself.

Starting November 30, 2020 the LOTR or land owner transparency registry came into effect. The registry was developed and will be operated by the land titles and survey authority. (LTSA)

Broken down, it’s a government registry designed to put an end to hidden land ownership in the province of BC. Companies and trusts can buy properties, but this new act will allow the public to find out who the true owners or the “beneficial” owners are. This even includes information about if the owner is a resident of Canada or not. And really this is where it all stems from.

The bad press that foreign ownership rightly or wrongly received in 2016 led to this land transparency legislation being introduced in the 2018 BC Provincial Budget.

The registry was developed and will be operated by the land titles and survey authority. (LTSA)
The act states that all “transferees” (basically buyers and sellers) must disclose if they are a “reporting body”

Reporting bodies include relevant:

Existing “reporting Bodies” with interests in land will have to file their own transparency report by November 30, 2021 or risk fines.

What are those fines? well the information we founds says that filing false or misleading information can cost up to $50,000 OR 15% of the assessed value of the property in questioning let’s face it, in the lower mainland 15% can add up pretty quick. BUT, LOTA can also levy fines up to $100,000 for what they call “other offences”.

The LOTR Search function will go live April 30, 2021. Now don’t worry too much if you are a “reporting body”, it’s not like this information will be live on google. Much like all of the other land title office information, there will be a $5 charge per search and members of the public will only receive a report with a portion of the information while the government retains a lot more of the details.

The LOTA applies to almost every type of property in the province AND how they are owned.

However, exempt lands include:
and Prescribed lands.
- And all of those basically mean “First Nations” lands.

Now the disappointing part of this legislation from what I can see is in identifying the hidden purchasers. Now it appears that if a company or trust buys a property, they will have to disclose the beneficial or “hidden” owners prior to closing or in the closing process.

BUT the disappointment from me, the real estate agents point of view, is that nothing I found forces the a Buyer to make these disclosures when the offer is being written or accepted. This means, you as a seller may not be any more informed than you are now when negotiating the deal, when that information is most important.

All that being said, this is a new system and there will surely be a large learning curve for everyone involved and changes will be made as the system is implemented and streamlined.

For more information, I highly recommend that you visit landtransparency.ca. It’s a very well put together website with way more details than can be provided here.

And last, if you think you are or will be deemed a “reporting body”, in other words you own a property in BC though a Corporation, Trust or Partnership, please get in touch with your lawyers ASAP to make sure you don’t face any fines.