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LOTA Notice to clients

September 23 2021

The  Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) came into force in B.C. effective November 30, 2020,  This legislation will impact almost everyone who acquires or currently holds an interest in land through a corporation, partnership, or trust (including a bare trust).

The LOTA imposes disclosure obligations that impact anyone who already holds an interest in land as of November 30, 2020, or who acquires an interest in land after November 30, 2020.

If you currently hold a registered interest in land in British Columbia through a corporation or society, as a trustee (including through a bare trustee), or through a partnership, you may be required to file LOTA disclosures before November 30, 2021.

The interests in land covered by LOTA include fee simple ownership, life estates, and registered leases with a term of 10 years or more (excluding options to extend or renew).

LOTA requires disclosure of the individuals who are the “interest holders” in real estate. The interest holders may include shareholders, directors, and trust beneficiaries. In complex structures, it will be necessary to investigate through the ownership structure to identify the individuals who are the ultimate interest holders who must be disclosed under LOTA.

Property owners subject to LOTA must disclose in a Land Owner Transparency Report the name, address, phone number, citizenship, residency, birth date, social insurance number, and other information about every “interest holder.” They must also notify each interest holder before and after they complete the LOTA filing.  Property owners will also be required to file additional LOTR declarations any time interest holders change.

Failure to file or incorrectly filing a Transparency Report could result in fines starting at the greater of $25,000 for individuals, $50,000 for a company or up to 15% of the value of the land or interest in land.

Real estate held by individuals in their personal capacity is not subject to the disclosure requirements under LOTA.

The disclosure requirements can be complex, and you may require our assistance in situations where multiple companies, trusts, partnerships or shareholder agreements are in place, or in situations where it is unclear whether or not an individual has sufficient ownership or other interest to be considered an interest holder.

The Land Owner Transparency Register has been designed to be accessed only by legal professionals with a land title office online account, and therefore, the Transparency Report can only be prepared and submitted by a legal professional.

We are here to help. If you have any questions or require support in preparing and filing the Transparency Report prior to November 30, 2021, please let us know.

Charles (Chuck) Piercey                                               Veronica Singer
[email protected]                                                  [email protected]

Brian Hanson                                                                 Peter Bonny
[email protected]                                                  [email protected]

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