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In This Volume

  • 276 (1) Despite any other Act, if land is sold for taxes, rates or assessments, the registration of the tax sale purchaser for an estate in fee simple purges and disencumbers the land of
  • (a) all the right, title and interest of every previous owner, or of those claiming under a previous owner, and
  • (b) all claims, demands, payments, charges, liens, judgments, mortgages and encumbrances of every nature and kind, whether or not registered under this Act,
  • that are subsisting immediately before the registration of the tax sale purchaser, except
  • (c) an easement registered against the land,
  • (d) a restrictive covenant, declaration of building scheme, or covenant under section 219 registered against the land,
  • (e) a statutory right of way registered as a charge against the land,
  • (f) the rights specified in section 23(2)(a), (b), (e), (f), (h), (i) and (j), and
  • (g) a lien or mortgage of the Crown or an improvement district.
  • (2) A forfeiture and vesting of land in the Crown under section 39 of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act and the forfeiture of land under any other Act for nonpayment of taxes, rates or assessments does not extinguish
  • (a) an easement registered against the land,
  • (b) a restrictive covenant, declaration of building scheme or a covenant under section 219 registered against the land, or
  • (c) a statutory right of way registered as a charge against the land.
  • (3) The Crown is bound by subsection (2).

1979-219-255.

FORMS

Forms of Application

Submissions

On the Form 17 Fee Simple, select Nature of Interest, Tax Sale—Certificate of Non-Redemption, and attach an image of the certificate.

An original letter from the Crown waiving the interest of the Crown under the Escheat Act may also be required to be attached. See the Practice discussion below.

Form of Certificate of Non-Redemption

The following is an example of a certificate of non-redemption that is acceptable to the registrar:

PRACTICE

“Crown”

The word “Crown” includes Crown corporations.

Registrar Checks Status of Corporation Who Is “Previous Owner”

When accepting a certificate of non-redemption, the registrar checks the status of any previous corporate owners. If the corporation was dissolved:

  1. but restored within two years after dissolution, the registrar accepts the certificate of non-redemption; or
  2. but not restored within two years after dissolution, the registrar refuses the certificate of non-redemption, unless it is supported by a letter from the Crown waiving the interest of the Crown under the Escheat Act. Customarily, the Ministry of Attorney General writes this letter.

CROSS REFERENCES AND OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Filing Notice of Non-Redemption in Land Title Office

See s. 663 of the Local Government Act regarding the collector’s obligation to file a notice with the registrar at the end of the redemption period if property sold for taxes has not been redeemed. The section also sets outs the requirements for, and the effect of, registration of such a notice.

Limitation on Number of Parcels

See ss. 158 and 178 of the Land Title Act, which provide that an indefeasible title must not cover more than one parcel.

Land Tax Deferment Act

See s. 11 of the Land Tax Deferment Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 249, which provides that an agreement registered under that Act is a lien and thereby ensures that in a tax sale the deferred taxes and interest on the land sold remain secured.

Secondary Sources

See Di Castri, Registration of Title to Land, vol. 2, paras. 331 and 700, and vol. 3, paras. 839 and 904.

CASE LAW

Interpretation

Section 276(1)(c) does not require an easement to be registered as a “charge” in order to be protected from the effect of a tax sale. An easement registered by a trust instrument is also protected under the section (Dukart v. Surrey (District), [1978] 2 SCR 1039, 1978 CanLII 214 (SCC)).

The word “sold” in s. 276(1)(a) of the Land Title Act refers to a “tax sale” conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Municipal Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 323 (now, the Local Government Act). It does not refer to a sale that is null and void from the outset, as may be the case where notice of a tax sale is not properly provided to the owner of the property to be sold (Gray v. Langley (Township), 1986 CanLII 832 (BC CA)).

The City of Prince Rupert acquired title to certain lands after the plaintiff defaulted in the payment of property taxes. The plaintiff did not exercise its rights of redemption or provide the city with notice setting out the grounds as to why the tax sale ought to be set aside as required under the Local Government Act. Several years later, the plaintiff brought this action seeking a declaration that it was the rightful owner of the lands, an order quashing the sale, and damages. The city sought to cancel the plaintiff’s certificate of pending litigation (CPL) as it wished to sell the lands to a third party. The city argued that it was suffering significant hardship because it could not collect taxes on the lands while they were owned by the city and because the city was exposed to significant liability for environmental contamination that the third party agreed to remediate once the ownership of the lands was settled. In ordering that the CPL be removed, the court found that substantial hardship and inconvenience was being experienced by the city because the CPL had prevented the city from selling the lands and resolving the environmental issues. The court also found that the legislative scheme in s. 276 of the Land Title Act and ss. 420 and 424 of the Local Government Act (now ss. 663 and 669) affirmed the principle that finality is desired in tax sales and that the plaintiff’s claim to an interest in the lands was overcome by the statutory provisions, leaving no foundation for the CPL to remain on title (Sun Wave Forest Products Ltd. v. Prince Rupert (City), 2012 BCSC 1908).

Entitlement to Surplus Money

Given ss. 416 and 420 of the Municipal Act (now ss. 659 and 663 of the Local Government Act) and s. 276(1) of the Land Title Act, the “interest” of the owner of the land at the time of a tax sale becomes any surplus money generated by the tax sale. Consequently, a judgment registered against the subject land before the tax sale is not extinguished because the interest of the owner is not extinguished. Section 416 of the Municipal Act enables another person, such as a judgment holder, to claim that surplus money. In this case, a judgment holder was found to be entitled to all of the surplus money from the tax sale (Re M-B Industries Ltd. (1987), 17 B.C.L.R. (2d) 197 (Co. Ct.)).