Ravenwoods Lease Q&A

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Questions and Answers: About Home Ownership on The Residential Developments Located on the Burrard Reserve of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (the Burrard Indian Band)

There are now five separate developments (650 Roche Point Drive, 630 Roche Point Drive, the 4 buildings of the Windsong development on Windcrest and Deercrest Drives, the 3 buildings of the Seasons development on Raven Woods Drive, and the townhouses of Signature Estates). Each of the five developments operate independently, but all have all been set up to operate in the same way.

There is a sixth development, the Destiny, which is in progress. The questions and answers given below do not try to cover every topic, nor every detail, but give general answers to many of the most frequent questions.

  1. Q: Who owns the land on the Burrard Reserve?

    A: The title to the land is in the name of the Government of Canada. Under the First Nations Land management Act, the Government of Canada has delegated the management of the Burrard Reserve to the Burrard Indian Band.

  2. Q: How is the Burrard Band involved?

    A: The Government of Canada has set this land aside ("reserved" it) for the use of the members of this band. Initially under the Indian Act, and now under the First Nations Land Management Act, the Government of Canada has delegated to the Band the authority to manage the Reserve land, to approve developments on Reserve Land, and to enter into long term leases for those developments. The Band has by vote authorized each of these developments and has authorized that the land be leased to a developer and developed for residential use. The Band has also involved itself directly in the actual construction by forming a partnership with the developer and working with the developer to build the developments.

  3. Q: What am I buying?

    A: The land and the building (references to “building” include “townhouses”) are leased by the Government of Canada and the Band to the developer. The lease states that upon the completion of the building the lease will be transferred lo a company (which most people refer to as the Home Owner Corporation). The Home Owner Corporation then subleases each suite in the building, or each townhouse. What you are buying is the sublease on your suite or townhouse.

  4. Q: How long is the lease?

    A: The lease on each building is for 99 years. The sublease on your suite or townhouse will end al the same lime as the lease on the building. The 99 year leases on the 2 Roche Point Drive developments began in the early 1990's. The 99 years leases on the Windcrest Drive/ Deercrest Drive development began in 1996. The 99 years leases on the Ravenwoods Drive development began in 1999. The 99 years lease on the Signatures Estates began in 2008.

  5. Q: How much rent do I pay on the lease?

    A: None. The rent has been prepaid in full for the 99 years on both the lease on the building and on your sublease of your suite or townhouse. There is no clause in the lease or the sublease which would allow the landlord to ask you to pay any more rent (In some past developments on other reserves, problems have developed because the rent was not prepaid on t he lease. Because they wanted to prevent that problem here, the developer has prepaid the rent on all leases and subleases.)

  6. Q: Are there any things I will have to pay for under the terms of the lease or sublease?

    A: Yes. You will pay a monthly maintenance fee to the Home Owner Corporation, just as you would if you were buying a regular, strata condominium. You will also have to pay annual property taxes, just as you would if you bought a regular, strata condominium. As with a regular strata condominium, there can be special levies assessed in the future (for things such as repainting or repairing the buildings), of which you will have to pay a share, but there can only be a special levy if it is approved by a majority of the sublease owners, just as a special levy in a regular strata condominium must first be approved by a majority of the strata condominium owners.

  7. Q: Can the lease on the land and buildings be cancelled before the 99 years are up?

    A: As with any lease it can be cancelled by the landlord if the tenant (the Home Owner Corporation) does not live up to the terms of the lease. However, there are very few things the Home Owner Corporation must do under the lease (things like keeping the buildings insured, keeping the buildings maintained and making sure the sublease owners live up to the terms of the subleases) so it is very unlikely that any circumstances would ever arise that would allow the Government of Canada to end the lease before the 99 years are up.

  8. Q: Who runs the Home Owner Corporation and makes sure it lives up to the terms of the lease on the land and buildings?

    A: You do. Each person who buys a sublease gets one vote in running the Home Owner Corporation. Each year you and the other owners will elect directors to watch over the business of the Home Owner Corporation. To be elected a director you must own a sublease, so it is the owners of the subleases who run the Homo Owner Corporation and make sure that it lives up to the lease

  9. Q: What about my sublease, can it be cancelled before the 99 years are up?

    A: If you do not live up to the terms of your sublease, it can be cancelled by the Home Owner Corporation. However. as long as you are paying your monthly maintenance fee and your annual property taxes, maintaining the required insurance on your suite or townhouse, and you are living within the rules that apply to everyone living in the suites or townhouses, it is extremely unlikely that any circumstances could arise which would allow your sublease to be cancelled.

  10. Q: What are the rules for living in the suites or townhouses?

    A: They are called the Bylaws or Duties of Owners. They are the same as what is referred to as the Bylaws in a regular strata condominium. (You will usually receive via your realtor a copy of the Duties of Owners at the time you purchase your sublease.) Those rules can be changed, but only if at least 75% of the sublease owners agree on the proposed change

  11. Q: How will l know what my monthly maintenance payment is?

    A: Just as with a regular strata condominium, you will learn via your Realtor the amount of the monthly maintenance. Just as with a regular strata condominium, this amount can change up or down each year, but only if a majority of the sublease owners vote in favour of an increased or decreased Annual budget.

  12. Q: What happens to the lease on the land and building or townhouses, and to my sublease, at the end of the 99 years?

    A: If the lease has not been renewed or extended, it will end at the end of the 99 years. This is the main difference between leasing land and owning land. In theory, ownership of land can go on forever. However, a lease has a specific end point. At the end of the 99 years, if the tease has not been renewed or extended, the lease will end, and whoever owns the sublease at that time will have to take their possessions and move out.

  13. Q: Is there any clause in the lease that will renew or extend the 99 years?

    A: No. If the sublease owners and the Home Owner Corporation want to renew or extend the lease, they must talk to the Burrard Indian Band before the 99 years is up, and see if they can negotiate a renewal or extension of the lease.

  14. Q: Can l get a mortgage on my sublease?

    A: Yes. When the lease and sublease were drafted, they knew that people buying the subleases would need to be able to get mortgages to help them buy the sublease. So there are clauses built into the lease and sublease that give all of the necessary permission for mortgages.

  15. Q: Is there any limit on me selling my sublease?

    A: Practically speaking, there is no limit on your right to sell. (Legally speaking, the Lands Office of the Burrard Band must approve the documents for registration of your sale, but they will give their approval as long as they receive the correct documents.) So you have the same right to sell as you do with a regular strata condominium. When you decide lo sell, you list the property with a Realtor in the normal way, and once you have a buyer, you get your lawyer to prepare the papers and close the sale for you.

  16. Q: I understand that I will get parking and a storage locker with my suite. How does that work?

    A: Just as in a regular strata condominium, the Home Owner Corporation has control of all parking and storage areas. The parking space and storage locker were assigned to the suite when it was new. The Home Owner Corporation signed a document confirming the parking space and storage locker numbers and giving your suite the exclusive use of them for the 99 years. When you sell your sublease, you pass the parking and storage agreement along to your buyer. (The townhouses of Signature Estates and those at 650 Roche Point Drive come with attached parking garages as part of the sublease, so no assignment from the Homeowner Corporation is needed.)

  17. Q: Who will actually run the suites or townhouses day to day?

    A: The same as in a regular strata condominium building, the Home Owner Corporation contracts with a property management company to collect the monthly maintenance, to make sure that cleaning and maintenance are done and to receive and act on any complaints about the building or about other sublease owners. The management company reports lo the board of directors elected by the sublease owners.

  18. Q: How do l pay property taxes?

    A: The Burrard Indian Band has set up a taxation authority to collect the property taxes. The Band has arranged with the District of North Vancouver for the District to supply the usual municipal services to these developments, in return for the Band collecting property tax from you and paying it to the District. The Band honours the Province of BC Home Owner Grant system, even though this land is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada. As with most municipalities you will receive a property assessment early each year, then a tax bill in late spring and taxes are due the beginning of July for that calendar year.

  19. Q: Is the Homeowner Corporation a strata corporation?

    A: No. Because this land is under federal jurisdiction, the Strata Property Act, which is a provincial statute, does not apply to these developments. Instead, the Homeowner Corporation has been set up so that it runs much like a strata corporation.