LOTR issues when buying property as an individual

If you are an individual buying property registered in British Columbia's provincial land title system, you must disclose whether there are any "hidden interests"in your property.

For example, will you:

  • own the property in your own name all by yourself?
  • have any silent partners?
  • have any people who are expecting a benefit from this property?
  • hold this property in trust for someone else?
  • have corporate shareholders who benefit from this property, but aren't disclosed on title?

What do you need to do?

Short answer: more paperwork. But don't worry, we'll help you with this.

Starting November 30, 2020, people who are acquiring an interest in land must make a declaration setting out whether they are a "reporting body" or not.

A reporting body is:

  • a relevant corporation;
  • a trustee of a relevant trust;
  • a partner of a relevant partnership.

You have to file this declaration no matter how you are acquiring your interest in this property. For example, you have to deal with this issue whether you are:

  • buying land from a stranger;
  • adding a new family member on title to your home;
  • adding or removing a family member from title to your home;
  • transmitting property into your name as a surviving joint tenant; or
  • receiving the property as a gift from someone else.

You do not have to deal with this issue if you are buying a manufactured home or First Nations properties.

We will organize this declaration for you, and we will file it for you when we file the application to register the property in your name. There is a charge for this filing, and for the work involved in preparing it.

How do you know if you are a reporting body or not?

Wondering how you tell if you are a reporting body? You might be a reporting body if there are any "hidden interests" in your property. The point of the LOTR is to track these hidden interests.

Here are some examples:

  • if you are buying property in your own name, with no other people who have an interest in it, then you are NOT a reporting body;
  • if you and your spouse are buying a home together, with no other people who have an interest in it, then you are NOT a reporting body;
  • if you are buying property through your family business, then you ARE a reporting body;
  • if you are adding your adult child on title to your home, you and your adult child MIGHT be a reporting body;
  • if you are holding property in trust for someone else, you MIGHT be a reporting body.

We will ask you a number of questions when we are helping you buy property to determine whether you qualify as a "reporting body".

What happens if I am NOT a reporting body?

Then you sign the declaration indicating that you are not a reporting body, and that's it. Nothing else is required.

What happens if I AM a reporting body?

If you are a reporting body, you must give additional information in a document called a Transparency Report.

Transparency Reports include a significant amount of information about each person who is considered an interest holder, including:

  • names;
  • identification data (including dates of birth, SIN numbers, and residency information);
  • contact information;
  • business numbers;
  • documentation about the trust, corporation or partnership (and the shareholders, trustees or partners of those entities).
  • the status of the interest holder's mental capacity.

If you are a reporting body, we will ask you for all of this information. We will prepare the paperwork for this additional reporting. This additional paperwork will be filed with your application to transfer the property into your name.

If you think you might be a reporting body, please let us know that as soon as possible, so we can make sure to start the information-gathering process as soon as possible. Some of this information may be in documents such as a corporate minute book or a trust agreement. Some of this information may be missing, in which case we will need to sort out how to find that information. Your purchase cannot proceed without it.

Confused and baffled?

That's not surprising. This is a brand new law and Registry, and there are no other similar registries in Canada that can be looked to for guidance. We will help.

Contact us for more information.