Standard 9: Ensuring Sound Transactions
The land trust works diligently to see that every land and conservation agreement transaction is legally, ethically and technically sound.
A land trust usually intends to protect the property it conserves in perpetuity. To help secure the perpetual conservation of land, its transactions must hold up over time and withstand challenges. Sound transactions rely on the land trust performing “due diligence” in its transaction steps. Land trust representatives need not be lawyers, but they must have good legal advice, and they should familiarize themselves with basic principles of real estate and tax law. The land trust should draw a landowner’s attention to issues that must be addressed as the transaction proceeds. However, a land trust should not represent itself as giving specific legal or financial advice; a landowner’s own advisors should do that. A land trust may have to call on other financial and technical experts in order to complete the transaction. Carefully documenting the steps a land trust takes in performing its due diligence can help secure the perpetual conservation of the property.
- Property Law Act, RSBC 1996, c. 377, s. 35.
- Land Title Act, RSBC 1996, c. 250, s. 218-223.
- Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretation of Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I; see:
- Environmental Management Act, SBC 2003, c. 53, s. 40
- Contaminated Sites Regulation, BC Reg. 375/96, as am., s. 3.
- Land Title Act, RSBC 1996, c. 250, Parts 10 and 10.1
- Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretation of Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I;
see Income Tax Technical News No. 26 at:
- Taxation (Rural Area) Act, RSBC 1996, c. 447.
- School Act, RSBC 1996, c. 412.
- Police Act, RSBC 1996, c. 367.
- Property Transfer Tax Act, RSBC 1996, c. 378.
- Social Service Tax Act, RSBC 1996, c. 431.
D. Determining Property Boundaries
The land trust determines the boundaries of every protected property through legal property descriptions, accurately marked boundary corners or, if appropriate, a survey. If a conservation agreement contains restrictions that are specific to certain zones or areas within the property, the locations of these areas are clearly described in the conservation agreement and supporting materials and can be identified in the field.
It is important for a land trust to know the boundaries of its fee holdings and conservation agreements. The best way to secure this information is through a survey, but this is not always practical on large parcels or in inaccessible locations. In all instances, a good property description is essential. Accurate descriptions of any special use areas or zones within a conservation agreement are also essential. These may be building envelopes, natural areas, riparian corridors, or other restricted zones. The ability to identify these areas in the field is necessary for the future enforcement of activities in these zones. The conservation agreement and supporting documentation should provide enough detail so that these areas can be clearly identified on the ground by the landowner and conservation agreement monitors.
BC Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust obtain and review a current survey of the property boundaries prior to completing any land transaction?
- Does the land trust ground truth the property boundaries prior to completing any land transaction?
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust inspect the boundary of each property before acquisition?
- Is there a survey for each property?
- Under what conditions would the land trust acquire a property without a survey?
- Are conservation agreements and any special use area boundaries clearly identifiable on the ground (either with a survey documentation or clearly delineated natural features)?