Buying a Sublease on Westbank First Nations Land: The Conveyance Process

By Andrea East

“Conveyancing” is the term your lawyer uses to describe the legal process of transferring an interest in land from the seller to the buyer.

This article will describe the process involved and what to expect when working with a law firm to convey a sublease in a residential development on Westbank First Nations land.

  1.   Document Review
  2. Your lawyer will review the legal agreements which affect the home or lot you are purchasing, such as the purchase agreement, the head lease, the sublease, owners association bylaws (if applicable), and any existing easements. Your lawyer will report to you their findings and highlight for you the interest being purchased, remaining term, timing, rules for common property payments and other obligations affecting the home.

    In addition to this legal review, you will want to do typical investigations such as home inspection and review of the owners association minutes and budgets.

  3.   The Assignment
  4. Your lawyer will prepare a package of documents for the seller to sign, including a statement of adjustments and tax related declarations. Your lawyer will also send a form to the owners association asking for confirmation that all fees are paid up and everything is in order.

    The most important document is called the assignment. The assignment is the document that legally transfers the sublease to you, and in which you promise to take on all responsibility for the obligations in the sublease. The assignment is the document which is sent for registration in the Westbank First Nation land registry.

  5.   Title Insurance
  6. If you are using a mortgage to fund the purchase, you will be asked by your bank or credit union to take out insurance that protects them if there is any problem with the title or registration. Title insurance is an extra cost to buyers, but is required for all mortgage financing. In addition, you can purchase coverage which extends the protection to you as well. If you don’t, only your bank or credit union is covered by the policy.

  7.   Registration
  8. Once all the documents are signed, the originally-signed assignment (and mortgage, if applicable) is couriered to Westbank First Nation for registration. Westbank First Nation’s lands department processes the assignment, usually within a few hours, and issues registration confirmation by email to the lawyer.
    The lawyer then provides the sale proceeds and remaining paperwork to the seller’s lawyers, and the transaction is closed.

  9.   Owners Association or Homeowners Corporation
  10. Once you are registered as the owners of the sublease, you are a member of the owners association for the development. You need to contact the owners association to give them your contact information. You will be entitled to attend annual general meetings, and get involved as an elected director.

    Some developments use a corporation instead of an association, and in those developments you will also be provided share transfer documentation to sign.

  11.   Residents Advisory Council
  12. All residents of Westbank First Nation are able to attend the Residents Advisory Council’s annual meeting. You can also get involved as an elected member of the Advisory Council. You can find out more about the Advisory Council and its role at http://www.wfn.ca/siya/advcouncil.htm.

Andrea East is a business lawyer at Pushor Mitchell LLP practicing in the area of First Nations Law. You can reach Andrea at 250-869-1245 if you would like help in purchasing a sublease on Westbank First Nations land.