Crown Land Tenure

What is Crown Land Tenure?


Where people occupy (live on) or use Crown land to carry out commercial activities, they usually want and may legally require exclusive rights to that land. In those situations, the Ministry of Natural Resources grants Crown land occupants "tenure" over the land.


When is Tenure Over Crown Land Required?


"Tenure" or "occupational authority" refers to a legal agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the occupant that spells out what rights the occupant has on Crown land. For example, a Lease - which is one form of tenure defines:

  • the area of land that can be used:
  • the purpose for which the land can be used:
  • the term (period of time) the rights are in effect; and
  • sets any conditions of use the occupant must meet, such as the payment of an annual rent.

 

A person is normally required to take out tenure for the land they are using if:

  • they are placing structures on Crown land;
  • they are making significant "improvements" (e.g. roads) to Crown land;
  • the land is to be used for commercial or industrial purposes; or
  • they need exclusive control of the land.


Types of Crown Land Tenure


Several types of tenure are available to authorize occupations or uses of Crown land. Different combinations of rights and privileges are granted by the various forms of tenure. The type of tenure made available depends on several factors including:

  • the intended length of time that the land will be occupied or used;
  • the use to which the land will be put;
  • the need to use the land as collateral to secure a loan;
  • the extent and value of the improvements (e.g. buildings) that will be made to the land; and
  • Ministry of Natural Resources policies (in some cases, the Ministry of Natural Resources specifies the level(s) of tenure it will issue for a specific land use; for others, an occupant may make a choice from several options).

 

The most common types of tenure available to the public include:

 

Land Use Permit (LUP)

  • The "weakest" form of tenure
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources retains future options for the land and controls use
  • Intended use and/or occupation is short term (10 years or less)
  • Extensive and/or valuable improvements to the land are not planned
  • Cannot be used for loan security or collateral
  • No future financial or environmental liability as a result of the intended use of the land is anticipated
  • Rights granted by a Land Use Permit are not transferable and there is no right of renewal

 

License of Occupation (LO)

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources retains future options for the land and controls use
  • The term is negotiable (up to 20 years)
  • Extensive and/or valuable improvements to the land are not planned
  • Cannot be used for loan security or collateral
  • No future financial or environmental liability as a result of the intended use of the land is anticipated
  • Rights granted by an License of Occupation are transferable, with Ministry of Natural Resources consent, but there is no right of renewal

 

Lease

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources retains future options for the land and controls use
  • The term is negotiable (up to 50 years)
  • Extensive and/or valuable improvements to the land are planned
  • Can be used for loan security or collateral (a Lease is a registerable document)
  • No future financial or environmental liability as a result of the intended use of the land is anticipated
  • Rights granted by a Lease are transferable, with Ministry of Natural Resources consent, and a right of renewal may be negotiated as a provision of the Lease

 

Easement

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources retains management of the land (the land granted by an easement can still be disposed of to third parties) and controls use
  • The term is negotiable (can be "in perpetuity" or a specified term)
  • Most commonly used in linear corridor situations such as pipelines and roads
  • Can be used as loan security or collateral (an Easement is a registerable document)
  • Rights granted by an Easement are transferable

 

Sale and Issuance of Letters Patent

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources does not retain future options for the land and does not control use
  • Extensive and/or valuable improvements to the land are planned
  • Can be used as loan security or collateral (a Patent is a registerable document)
  • Used when future financial or environmental liability as a result of the intended use of the land may arise
  • Rights granted by a Patent are transferable by the "Patentee" through sale