Fisheries and Land Resources

Frequently Asked Questions - Crown Lands

  1. Are there any reasons why an Application may not be accepted?
  2. Does an individual acquire any rights in a parcel of land when an application is accepted by the Lands Branch?
  3. Is the Application Fee refundable if the application is refused or withdrawn?
  4. What is meant by the term "Registration"?
  5. What is meant by the term "Referral"?
  6. What rights does an applicant have when an application is approved for survey?
  7. Why is it necessary to have land surveyed?
  8. Is there a time limit on the submission of a survey?
  9. Can an applicant withdraw an application?
  10. Can an applicant transfer or withdraw an application in favour of another individual?
  11. What Rights are Conveyed to a Crown Land Title Holder?
  12. Does a Person Have Title to Land to the Waters Edge?
  13. How Does a Person Apply to Transfer Crown Land Lease or Licence?
  14. Who is Authorized to Administer an Oath?

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1. Are there any reasons why an Application may not be accepted?

There are a number of reasons why the Department may refuse to accept an application. For example, the land may fall within a proposed or designated watershed; the proposed development may be contrary to a municipal or regional plan; the land may border a section of a highway to which access will not be permitted by the Department of Works Services and Transportation. In each of these examples, it is obvious to Department officials that, if accepted, the application would only result in refusal. Where it is obvious that a refusal will result, an application will not be accepted.

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2. Does an individual acquire any rights in a parcel of land when an application is accepted by the Lands Branch?

An individual does not acquire any rights in a parcel of land as a result of having an application accepted. For this reason, the application form contains a caution that the land cannot be occupied or developed a title is issued. The Department's only obligation to the applicant at this point is to process the application and obtain a decision as quickly as possible.

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3. Is the Application Fee refundable if the application is refused or withdrawn?

The application fee is used to cover part of the cost of processing the application. Regardless of the final decision, the fee is not refundable unless the applicant withdraws an application prior to the commencement of processing.

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4. What is meant by the term "Registration"?

When an application is accepted by the Regional Lands Office for processing, it is assigned a unique number which becomes its permanent identifier.

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5. What is meant by the term "Referral"?

A referral is a request for comments and recommendations sent by the Lands Branch to other Government departments or agencies who may have an interest or concern related to the land being applied for. Generally, an application will only be approved by the Lands Branch if recommended by all applicable regulatory authorities.

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6. What rights does an applicant have when an application is approved for survey?

The only right the applicant has at this stage is to have the land surveyed by a registered member of the Association of Newfoundland Land Surveyors. The applicant cannot, on the basis of this approval, develop or occupy the land applied for because the application may still be refused by the Lands Branch at any time prior to the issuance of a fully executed title document. Such refusals are rare at this stage, but can occur for a variety of legitimate reasons. Persons developing land at this stage may suffer financial loss if a title document can not be issued.

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7. Why is it necessary to have land surveyed?

A survey is necessary in order to correctly and accurately identify to the applicant and the Lands Branch the size and location of the parcel of land that has been approved. It is also necessary to ensure that the land approved does not overlap or interfere with the rights of other land owners in the area and to confirm that the land is, in fact, Crown land.

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8. Is there a time limit on the submission of a survey?

In accordance with the Lands Act a survey must be submitted within twelve (12) months from the date on which an application is approved. Failure to have the survey submitted will result in the application being deemed cancelled. However, the applicant may request additional time to a maximum of 18 months from the date of approval of the application, provided the request is received in writing prior to the expiry of the first twelve (12) month period. Even though an applicant may request to an extension, it is not automatic and the applicant must provide a legitimate reason as to why he/she could not submit undertake and submit a satisfactory survey in the first twelve (12) month period.

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9. Can an applicant withdraw an application?

An applicant is free to withdraw an application at any time but the application fee will not be refunded after the application is registered.

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10. Can an applicant transfer or withdraw an application in favour of another individual?

An applicant does not have the right to transfer an application to another party. The principle of a withdrawal conditional upon the transfer of the application to a specified party is not accepted by the Department. Only a person who holds a Crown title that is in good standing may apply for permission to transfer his or her rights to another party.

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11. What Rights are Conveyed to a Crown Land Title Holder?

A Crown Land title conveys surface rights only. All minerals, limestone, granite, slate, marble, gypsum, clay, sand, gravel, coal, oil, etc., are excluded from the title and reserved to the Crown. For specific details the title holder should consult the terms and conditions of his/her grant, lease or licence.

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12. Does a Person Have Title to Land to the Waters Edge?

Generally, ownership of shorelines around any water body is restricted and a 15 metre reservation is maintained for public use between the high water mark of a water body and any area of granted, leased or licenced land. Specific procedures are required to use the shoreline for the construction of a facility and then only for limited purposes. For further information on the shore line reservation, refer to Section 7 of the Lands Act.

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13. How Does a Person Apply to Transfer Crown Land Lease or Licence?

To transfer a lease or licence, a Request for Consent and Notice of Assignment of Lease/Licence form must be completed and forwarded to the appropriate Regional Lands Office. Before a request is accepted, the following requirements are necessary:

  1. The request form must be completed in detail by both the lease/licence holder (seller) and the assignee (purchaser).
  2. The request form must be signed by both the lease/licence holder and the assignee in the spaces provided and sworn before an official authorized to administer an oath.
  3. The statement of development must be completed in detail and signed by the lease/licence holder in the space provided.
  4. A fee of $200.00 must be paid.
  5. All rentals owing must be paid up-to-date.
  6. For requests to transfer agriculture leases/licences, written approval from the Agrifoods Branch, Department of Natural Resources, must be submitted with the application.

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14. Who is Authorized to Administer an Oath?

The following is a recommended list of resources, which is not meant to be all-encompassing:

  • Commissioner of Oaths: Those appointed by the Minister of Justice, under the Commissioner for Oaths Act.* Regional directors, district managers, social workers and financial assistance officers employed by Government or a board established under The Health and Community Services Act or The Hospitals Act are also Commissioners of Oaths.
  • Justice of Peace: Person appointed by Minister of Justice under the Justices Act.
  • Notary Public: Persons appointed by the Minister of Justice under the Notaries Public Act.
  • Barrister / Solicitor: These are Commissioners for Oaths as long as they are practicing in the Province.
  • Mayor or Chairperson of a Municipality: These are Commissioners for Oaths as long as they hold office in the Province.
  • Member of the House Assembly: These are Commissioners for Oaths as long as they hold office in the Province.

* Most Regional Crown Lands staff have also been appointed Commissioner for Oaths.

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