Which Contract to Use When Buying a Home on WFN Lands
Did you know that there is a different contract that is used when buying and selling a home on Westbank First Nations (“WFN”) Lands? The standard contract used by real estate agents for buying and selling homes in the British Columbia land system assumes that the land is being bought and sold. However, on WFN Lands it is not possible to sell the land and all interests bought and sold are leasehold interests (usually a long-term prepaid sublease in a larger development, and occasionally a stand-alone lease for a home not in a development). This is a really important difference when it comes to language used in the contract.
There is a WFN specific standard form contract available to real estate agents which is drafted to address the differences in the WFN system (the “WFN Contract”). Some of these differences include:
(a) the WFN Contract is clear that the interest being bought and sold is a leasehold interest;
(b) the registration process in the WFN Contract refers to the WFN lands registry and the standard language in the WFN Contract reflects that the transfer of interest is by assignment of leasehold interest.
These differences are particularly important if the transaction does not go smoothly and the parties need to rely on strict performance of the obligations set out in the contract. If the contract is not the WFN Contract, strict compliance with the contract terms would result in the parties being required to follow a process which would not result in a transfer of the home. This would become very important if a dispute arose between the buyer and the seller, and especially important if that dispute ended up in court.
The WFN Contract is labelled so that it is easy to identify: it is called “Westbank First Nation Contract of Purchase and Sale of a Leasehold Interest”.
If you have any questions about the WFN Contract or the process for transferring a home on WFN Lands, please give us a call. We are happy to help.
Andrea East is a business lawyer at Pushor Mitchell LLP practicing in the areas of Business Law and First Nations. You can reach Andrea at 250-869-1245 if you would like assistance.