The Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) came into force on November 30, 2020. It is intended to provide information to the public with respect to the beneficial owners and interest holders of real property in BC, regardless of form of ownership. Since 2020, anyone who acquires an interest in land (including but not limited to ownership in fee simple, life estates, leases with a term greater than ten years, and even the right to occupy or require transfer under agreement for sale) must file a transparency declaration to be stored in the Land Owner Transparency Registry (the “LOTR”).
The declaration indicates whether the owner is a relevant corporation, a trustee of a relevant trust, or a partner of a relevant partnership (“reporting bodies”) under LOTA. If ownership is held via a relevant reporting body, the reporting body must also complete and file a transparency report disclosing details about the individuals behind the reporting bodies.
For relevant reporting bodies with an interest in land acquired prior to LOTA’s coming into force, a transparency report is also required. The deadline for pre-existing owners to file a report was originally set for November 30, 2021, but last year this deadline was extended to November 30, 2022.
Reporting bodies that fail to file a report by this deadline will be subject to serious penalties. Filing violations (even as simple as filing after the deadline) could result in an administrative penalty calculated as $25,000 or 5% of the assessed value of the property for an individual, or $50,000 or 5% of the assessed value of the property for a non-individual. If the violation constitutes an offence under LOTA, it could result in a fine up to the greater of $25,000 or 15% of the assessed value of the property for an individual, or $50,000 or 15% of the assessed value of the property for a non-individual.
Time is of the essence given the upcoming deadline. Call or email us today to find out more and to ensure you are in compliance with LOTA.
This article is intended for information purposes only and should not be taken as the provision of legal advice. Grace C. Cleveland is a lawyer with the law firm of Cleveland Doan LLP and can be reached at (604)536-5002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.