Effective November 30, 2020, the British Columbia Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) came into force, bringing into existence the new British Columbia Land Owner Transparency Registry (“LOTR”). This is a publicly searchable registry containing names, citizenship and other information of individuals who have indirect interests in land in BC.
The LOTA imposes initial and ongoing disclosure obligations that impact any individual or entity acquiring an interest in land in BC on or after November 30, 2020. The LOTA also imposes disclosure obligations on pre-existing owners of an interest in land in BC in some circumstances.
Real estate owned by individuals purely in their personal capacity (e.g, not as a trustee or on behalf of a partnership) is not subject to the disclosure requirements in the LOTA.
However, if you currently own 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 respect of real estate. The interest holders may include shareholders, directors, and trust beneficiaries. In complex ownership structures, it may be necessary to drill down 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 LOTR filing the 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. And, they must file additional LOTR declarations if the interest holders change. For instance, a change of control of a company that owns land will require a LOTR filing.
Significant administrative penalties and fines may be assessed for failing to comply with the LOTA.
If you need help in understanding or complying with your obligations under LOTA, please reach out to your Miller Thomson LLP contact or Miller Thomson’s Vancouver Real Estate Group, as follows: