Frequently Asked Questions
If you have additional questions not covered here, please review the Living or Buying Here sections or email email@example.com
Q. Can you walk through the process of initiating a lease? What's the first step? Is there a flowchart or does the band have professional contacts for helping people through the process? A. This depends on the type of lease and on which lands. The first step is to contact the lands officer to obtain the Application for Use. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-679-3203 and speak to a lands officer.
Q. How do we add a family member to the Lease? A. Contact the lands officer at email@example.com to initiate the process to add a name to the Title. It will be necessary for the title of the Lease to be changed at the Indian Land Registry so this will require some documentation and will result in some costs to the leaseholder.
Q. Is it possible to get a duplicate copy of my lease agreement from the band? A. Yes you can obtain a copy for a fee through the lands department. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your request or call 250-679-3203 and speak to a Lands officer.
Q. How often do defaults or removals happen? (abandoned property etc.) A. This happens from time to time. Where the Band decides to advertise acquisitions available for sale they will be posted on the website.
Q. Has there been any decision made on the possible length of the future lease period for the Schouten Road properties? A. The status of the leases on Schouten Road are complicated by the challenges presented by overland flooding, effluent discharge, water supply and sensitive areas. In an effort to find a solution to the infrastructure, environmental and safety issues in this area, the Band has engaged Urban Systems, a community planning and engineering company to propose solutions to resolve these challenges. The analysis and planning are now underway. Once we have the report from Urban Systems we will be in contact with the Leaseholders Association for further discussions.
Q. The minimum assessed building value for leasing was less than $150,000, but now it is greater than $150,000. How is this determined? A. To qualify to lease a property, the improvements on the property must meet a minimum assessed value. This value is established from time to time and is adjusted as the market changes. The intention is to ensure properties are maintained to an appropriate standard that contributes to the overall desirability of the community and supports the tax base.
Q. Are mortgages now more commonplace on leases? Preferred banks? A. Mortgages on prepaid leases are common and more readily available. Shorter term leases of any type are not as readily mortgageable through the Chartered Banks. The availability of mortgages depends on the length of the remaining term, the strength of the borrower, the condition of the property and other typical lending criteria. Realtors advise seeking mortgage financing from banks/credit unions in the local communities closest to the property as they generally have more knowledge of the area, properties and the quality of the development.
Q. Will prepaid leases be made available in the future? A. Leasing property is a business venture for Little Shuswap Lake Band. Decisions about offering long-term prepaid leases and periodic leases are determined by the Band based on their need for capital infusions or long-term income streams. These decisions are based on the Band’s strategic and financial goals at a given time. The Band aims to balance its income stream from all its businesses to ensure the financial stability of the community well into the future. Prepaid leases are only one option the Band has used to raise capital for projects. The Chief and Council may decide to offer prepaid leases in the future when it makes financial sense for the Band to do so.
Q. As the lease requires the approval of the Lessor to sub-let, what is the process to apply for subletting? A. The Lease requires the lessee to seek the approval of the Lessor to sub-let. To apply to sub-let, contact the Lands Officer for an Application for Use. You will be required to provide a copy of the proposed month-to-month lease and a copy of your insurance providing confirmation that your policy covers a sub-let situation. The Permitted Use of the Properties is limited by the terms of the lease to Single Family Residential. Short-term vacation rentals (anything less than a month-to-month lease) are not permitted by the Band as they are deemed to be commercial (hotel/motel type) accommodation. The Band will be reviewing the terms of sub-letting and will be posting the application and procedures on the website in the coming months. We intend to engage the Boards of the leaseholder associations in this review.
Q. What is the Band’s response to the fact that some people seem to be having trouble getting property insurance or are encountering extremely high rates because of certain clauses in the Leases? A. The Band will be working with the leaseholder’s associations and Indigenous Services Canada to investigate and advocate for mutually agreeable long-term solution to Insurer’s concerns.
Q. How are property taxes levied? A. As a local government, the Band has the authority under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FNFMA) to levy property taxes on their lands. The Band has passed a Property Taxation Law and a Property Assessment Law. Annually the Band is required to submit a Property Tax Rates Law and a Property Tax Expenditure law for approval under the FNFMA. Once approved the Laws are posted in the First Nations Gazette which publishes all First Nations legislation and provides public notification service for First Nations, other governments, corporations, and other persons respecting Aboriginal matters. The approved tax rate laws and expenditure laws for each year can be found at https://partii-partiii.fng.ca/fng-gpn-ii-iii/en/nav.do by searching by the Band name.
Q. Who does the property assessment for property tax purposes? A. The Band has contracted with the British Columbia Assessment Authority to provide the assessments of the value of the lands and improvements each year. The Leaseholders are provided with a Notice of Assessment on or before January 31 of each year which is used in the determination of property taxes. For further details about property assessments and assessment appeals, refer to your lease document or the summary of the lease posted on the LSLB Lands section of the Website, Living Here section, Summary of Pertinent Lease Terms. https://www.lslb.ca/lands.
Q. Are we entitled to the homeowner grant if we are not living here full time? A. 1. Applicants are entitled to apply for a Homeowner Grant with respect to their Lands provided they meet the eligibility requirements. One of the eligibility requirements is that the property is your principal residence – click here for eligibility definitions. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/annual-property-tax/home-owner-grant#principal-residence. 2. Residents of British Columbia are only entitled to claim a Homeowner Grant on one leasehold or freehold property in British Columbia in any one year; 3. In British Columbia, the Province of BC offsets the cost of the Homeowner Grant to municipalities. The Province does not reimburse the Homeowner Grant to First Nations. On First Nations Lands the Homeowner grant is a direct loss of revenue to the First Nation as the First Nation covers the cost of offering the Homeowner Grant.
MARKET RENT APPRAISAL
Q. How are the periodic lease rates determined? A. The lease is held by Her Majesty In Right of Canada as represented by the designated Ministry ie: Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) on behalf of and for the benefit of the First Nation. ISC has the responsibility to obtain a market appraisal and conduct the periodic lease rate reviews. The rental/lease rates are set by Indigenous Services Canada after a review of the market appraisal. The appeal provisions are set out in the Lease and Lessees can appeal their market rent by following the process set out in the appropriate section of the Lease. Appraisal Approach Information provided by Kent-Macpherson Appraisals. “Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) contracts an accredited appraiser to prepare an appraisal for the market rent appropriate to each property, subject to the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. The appraisal is conducted of the land only and considers the market evidence of similar properties and market trends along with the physical and functional attributes of the property (such as location, lot area, water frontage, beach quality, access, seasonal flooding, topography, etc). The appraisal report is prepared for the exclusive Intended Use of Indigenous Services Canada and is not available to other parties, including LSLB.” Any questions should be directed to Rick Pennykid, Lands Management and Leasing Officer, Indigenous Services Canada, 236-330-4920 or email Richard.Pennykid@sac-isc.gc.ca.
Q. If I add improvements to the lands, will the annual rent go up at the five year renewal? A. The periodic rent (5-year term) is based on the rental value of the land without improvements, ie: buildings and permanent structures.
Q. Why has there been such a large increase in the lease rates? A. Periodic lease rates are based on the current market value of the land at the time of the evaluation and fixed for 5 years (or the periodic term). Over time the value of land in British Columbia has been steadily increasing. The increase in the lease rates reflects the market increases in real estate over the previous period ie: 5 years or the periodic term.
Q. It seems that some of the lease notices were issued late, what are our obligations to pay? A. The following is a summary of the lease clauses specific to Quaaout and Scotch Creek. Please refer to your lease document for full details. In accordance with the Scotch Creek periodic lease Article 3.3 The Landlord will endeavour to provide the revised Market Rent to the Tenant at least 90 days prior to the expiry of the current five-year Period. If the revised Market Rent is not provided within the 90-day period, the Tenant will pay the same Annual Rent as the previous year until such time as the Market Rent has been provided to the Tenant. The Tenant will then pay the difference to the Landlord for the intervening period In accordance with the Quaaout periodic lease Article 4.3, The determination of the Market Rent can be delayed for up to 180 days after the expiration of the previous Period. If the determination is delayed past the start of the new, the Lessee will continue to pay the Base Rent from the previous Period until such time as the Base Rent has been adjusted. Notice of the revised Base Rent shall be provided to the Lessee. Under Article 4.3.2 once the Notice has been received – and if the Base Rent has been increased – the Lessee will pay the deficiency to the Band within 30 days.
Q. Will the Band consider reducing the lease fees in hardship cases? A. Unfortunately, the Band cannot reduce the fees in a hardship case and suggests that leaseholders seek other forms of financial assistance through organizations structured to assist in these situations.
TRANSFERRING LEASEHOLD INTERESTS
Q. If I am selling my property interest where do I find information about the process and what I need to know? A. The information and process for buying and selling is posted on our Website under the Lands section “Buying Here”. This section includes details and checklists for Buyers, Sellers, Lawyers, Notaries and Realtors. It also includes the detailed document package that needs to be completed and submitted to the Band for approval. The approval process includes forwarding the documents to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for registration in the Indian Land Registry. Go to: https://www.lslb.ca/lands.
Q. Where is the Band at in their research in to dealing with the significant mosquitos in specific problem areas? A. As you are no doubt aware, the leadership of Little Shuswap Lake Band had concerns with the application of vectobac and the potential impact to the environment. This led to the suspension of the Mosquito Control program for 2022 at Hilliam Road, Tsutswecu Provincial Park and Shuswap Lake Provincial Park. Good News! After much research, numerous meetings and discussion we are pleased to advise that Little Shuswap Lake Band Chief and Council and the CSRD will be working together towards confirming a 5-year Mosquito Control Program for 2023-2028.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Q. Are "off-grid" water harvest or septic systems permitted or is the leaseholder required to join existing infrastructure? A. In the event the Band decides to extend the community water and sewer system in the future, Leaseholders are obliged under the terms of the Lease to connect to the Band System and to pay the Band such rates as the Band may pass from time to time for the use of the Systems. As capital infrastructure projects are very expensive the costs have to be shared by all those who can access the system.
Q. What would be the costs for the possible mandatory connections for either water or sewer for properties? What notification would the Band be required to provide for the mandatory water/sewer connections? A. Connection fees would be determined at the time the project is planned and costs are known. Leaseholders would be notified during the planning process.
Q. Where do I find information about the requirements for installing a septic system? A. Septic systems require the approval of the First Nations Health Authority(FNHA). On-site wastewater systems constructed on-reserve must be installed based on the current provincial BC Sewerage Standard Practice Manual. Please contact an EHO (Environmental Health Officer) for applicable forms and the submission process. For further information, call FNHA in Kamloops to obtain your application and the requirements at 250-851-4836.
Q. Would paving our driveway be considered an “addition” and require the archeological assessment? A. Yes, the property will need some level of assessment as outlined in the Archaeology guidelines, please see the detailed guidelines and application for the approval process. CLICK HERE.
Q. Are all leaseholders and band members required to get archaeology studies? When are exemptions permitted to archaeology studies? A. Little Shuswap Lake Band (Little Shuswap) requires proponents (i.e., business and residential users) on both leased or unleased lands to follow all Little Shuswap laws and policies, as determined by Chief and Council, including land/water development approval procedures. Some level of assessment is very likely required in every case, CLICK HERE for more details.