Notice to Charthouse Clients: What you need to know about the November 30, 2021 deadline under the Land Owner Transparency Act

This notice applies only to corporations, partnerships, and trusts that own land in British Columbia.

The government of British Columbia has enacted the Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) which introduces mandatory disclosure requirements for beneficial owners of land in British Columbia. Each corporation, trust or partnership that owns land in British Columbia must file a Land Owner Transparency Declaration and Land Owner Transparency Report disclosing the beneficial ownership of the property by November 30, 2021 (the “Transparency Report”).

These filings are different from the “Transparency Register” of significant individuals we created for you to comply with the Business Corporations Act (the “BCA”) last year. The LOTA disclosure obligations are broader and distinct from those under the BCA and may require disclosure of parties that were not previously caught by the BCA disclosure obligations.

The filing requirement only applies to corporations, trusts, and partnerships that owned land in British Columbia before the law came into effect (i.e. before November 30, 2020). Individuals who own property personally are not required to file anything and corporations, trusts, and partnerships that purchased property in the last year have already finished their filings.

LOTA requires disclosure of the individuals who are the “interest holders” of land or who have certain interests in land. Interest holders may include shareholders, directors, partners or a partnership, trustees and/or trust beneficiaries. The Transparency Report requires disclosure of the full legal name, address, citizenship, residency, social insurance number, birth date, and other information of each interest holder.

These disclosure obligations are an ongoing requirement, and an updated Transparency Report may need to be filed whenever there are changes in the interest holders, which can involve the transfer of shares, sale of the beneficial interest of land, the addition or removal of a partner in a partnership, or even the death or birth of an individual who may have an interest in the land, partnership, or corporation.

The Land Owner Transparency Register has been designed to be accessed only be legal professionals with a land title office online account, and therefore, the Transparency Report can only be prepared and submitted by a legal professional.

Failure by pre-existing owners to file Transparency Reports may be subject to penalties up to the greater of $25,000 for individuals or $50,000 for non-individuals, and 15% of the assessed value of the property.

Landowners with complicated ownership structures are encouraged to seek advice for filing of the requisite Transparency Report to ensure compliance. Please contact our office to make an appointment with Spencer Keys if this is the case for you.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, please complete our online Land Owner Transparency Act Questionnaire (the “Questionnaire”)

  1. Do you own any land personally that is held in trust for another individual, company or partnership?
  2. Does any company or partnership you are involved with own any land in British Columbia?
  3. Does this Company have any registered leases in British Columbia in land that are for a term of 10 years or more, including any rights of renewal?

If you complete the Questionnaire by October 31, 2021, the cost for this service will be $250.00 plus taxes and disbursements. If you complete the Questionnaire after this date, the legal fees will be $400.00 plus taxes and disbursements. For companies with multiple properties, fees will be charged on a sliding scale. Companies with holding corporations or trusts that own shares may cost more depending on the complexity of the required reporting.

We will need to review the ownership structure of the company and send notices to owners who are not in your household. Therefore, we cannot guarantee filing by November 30, 2021 without delivery of all required information ten business days in advance.

Unlike the “Transparency Registers” produced last year, our office is not personally liable for a failure to make a filing therefore we will not be producing Transparency Reports without your specific directions to do so. We have also reviewed pricing of competitors in the Lower Mainland and have been advised of prices ranging from $395.00 to $1,495.00; we recognize this one-time filing is a burden and have priced it accordingly.

If you would like Charthouse Lawyers to complete the Transparency Report and Transparency Declaration on your behalf, please complete our questionnaire below. If you have any questions, please contact us at LOTA@charthouselawyers.ca.

Schedule your initial consultation today.

Contact Lauren at our office.

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Charthouse Law Corporation is the successor firm of the Lois Potter Law Office, and operates under the name Charthouse Lawyers