BC’s New Land Owner Transparency Registry – What Do You Have To Do To Comply?
Please note that since the publication of this article, the government of British Columbia has extended the filing deadline for pre-existing owners to November 30, 2022.
There is a new publicly searchable registry in British Columbia – the Land Owner Transparency Registry. This Registry has been around for almost a year, but there is an upcoming deadline that relevant corporations, trusts and partnerships should be aware of. A relevant corporation, trust or partnership that owns land in British Columbia must complete a Transparency Report by November 30, 2021. The Report must be filed by a legal professional1 and will include information about the beneficial individual owners of the land.
Below, we provide answers to some commonly asked questions about the Land Owner Transparency Registry requirements.
What is the Land Owner Transparency Registry?
The Land Owner Transparency Registry is a new publicly searchable registry in British Columbia. It was created to combat money laundering and to end hidden ownership of land in the province. The Registry includes information about the beneficial individual owners of the land collected through Transparency Declarations and Reports.
When is a Transparency Registry filing required?
There are two situations where a Transparency Registry filing is required.
If a new interest in land is registered:
A Declaration (and Report, if applicable) is required every time a new interest in land is registered.
The definition of an “interest in land” includes:
- fee simple ownership;
- a life estate; and
- a lease for a term of more than 10 years.
This requirement ensures that the Transparency Registry will always contain up to date information about the beneficial owners of land in British Columbia.
If a “reporting body” has an existing interest in land:
All “reporting bodies” with an interest in land acquired before November 30, 2020 must file a Transparency Report prior to November 30, 2021.
The definition of “reporting body” includes:
- corporations (including limited liability companies, incorporated associations and societies);
- partnerships (including general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and professional partnerships); and
- trusts (including express trusts and bare trusts);
and excludes many specific entities such as:
- public companies;
- strata corporations;
- real estate investment trusts;
- testamentary trusts;
- charitable trusts; and
- alter ego and joint partner trusts.
These Reports allow information about the beneficial owners of land to be captured for interests in land that existed prior to the introduction of the Transparency Registry in 2020.
What has to be filed?
There are two documents that may be involved in a Transparency Registry filing:
- A Transparency Declaration
- A Transparency Report
A Transparency Declaration is short, and simply indicates whether the interest in land is being registered to a “reporting body”.
A Transparency Report is required when the interest in land is registered to a “reporting body”. It includes information about the individuals who are behind the reporting body that benefit from the property interest.
How to get started
Transparency Declarations and Reports are filed through myLTSA, and must be submitted by a legal professional. The deadline for corporations, trusts and partnerships with existing interests in land to comply is November 30, 2021. Pushor Mitchell is happy to assist you in your efforts to do this. For more information, please contact Paul Tonita at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rebecca Dickson at email@example.com.
Paul Tonita is a solicitor practicing in the areas of business law, real estate, estate planning and estate administration. His business experience includes assisting clients right from the beginning by discussing the different business structures, incorporating, buying and selling businesses, assisting with lending or financing needs, drafting and advising on contracts, and providing general advice to business owners.
His real estate practice involves working with developers to navigate the complex waters that are unique to each development and vary from municipality to municipality. Paul also assists both residential and commercial clients with purchases, sales, financing and leasing.
Paul also helps clients plan for their future with estate and incapacity planning. He guides executors through the legal challenges that are unknown to many when they agree to take on the executor’s role. This may involve determining whether a grant of probate is required and applying for one if necessary, calling in assets, paying out debts, transferring real estate to surviving joint tenants and determining whether additional steps may be required in order to wind up an estate and transfer the balance of assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries.
Rebecca Dickson is an Articled Student at Pushor Mitchell. She completed law school at Thompson Rivers University in 2021, and is happy to have settled in Kelowna upon graduation.