Land Owner Transparency Registry: An Update

Real Estate Lawyer | July 22, 2021

Starting on November 30, 2020, in order to properly file an application to register an “interest in land” in B.C. under the Land Title Act, the transferee (usually a buyer) has to file a “transparency declaration” and, if the transferee is a “reporting body”, a “transparency report”. These requirements were put in place because of the B.C. government’s creation of the Land Owner Transparency Registry (the “LOTR”).

What do these terms mean? For our purposes, if the buyer of an interest in land is a trust, a corporation, or a partnership, then the buyer is a reporting body and must file both a transparency declaration and a transparency report. If the buyer is not a trust, a corporation, or a partnership, then only a transparency declaration is required.

When the requirements of the LOTR were put in place, only transfers after November 30, 2020, required the relevant documents to be filed. However, the Land Owner Transparency Act (the “LOTA”) and its corresponding Regulations, indicated that on November 31, 2021, existing owners, as of November 30, 2020, would need to make the related filings with the LOTR in order to comply with the LOTA.

What is the Land Owner Transparency Act?

This means that anyone who is a reporting body under the LOTA (that is, an entity who is a relevant corporation, trust, or partnership) must file a LOTR declaration and LOTR report by November 31, 2021, in relation to any property owned in BC prior to November 30, 2020.

A couple of points for clarification:

  1. If a reporting body has sold a property since November 30, 2020, and does not own the property anymore, that reporting body does not need to make the relevant LOTR filings by November 30, 2021;
  2. Real estate owned by individuals purely in their personal capacity (that is, not as a trustee or on behalf of a partnership) is not subject to the disclosure requirements in the LOTA; and
  3. If an individual holds property in trust as a bare trustee, that individual may be required to file a LOTR declaration and report before the November 30, 2021 deadline.

What else do you need to know about the Land Owner Transparency Act?

LOTA requires disclosure of the individuals who are the interest holders in respect of real estate in B.C. Depending on the type of reporting body, interest holders may include shareholders, directors, and trust beneficiaries. In complex ownership structures, it may be necessary to drill down through the ownership structure of multiple companies and trusts to identify the individuals who are the ultimate interest holders who must be disclosed under LOTA.

If a LOTR declaration and LOTR report are required, reporting bodies are required to disclose the personal information of its interest holders, including the interest holder’s citizenship, residency, birth date, social insurance number, full legal name, and other information. A reporting body must notify each interest holder before and after the LOTR filings are completed.

If a reporting body fails to comply with the LOTA, including failing to file the necessary documents by November 31, 2021, significant administrative penalties and fines may be assessed.

Learn all about joint tenancy vs tenancy-in-common.

This article is a summary of a complex piece of legislation. It is meant to cover only the highlights. For more information or help, our lawyers and staff are here to assist and you can visit the Registry’s website:

© Linley Welwood LLP. The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice. Readers should seek legal advice in relation to their own specific circumstances.

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