know your property rights as they relate to
fee simple interest & bundle of rights
As a landowner, you have fee simple ownership in the land. That is the highest form of ownership available in British Columbia. It does not include the undersurface rights, which are reserved for the Crown, and can be sold, but is subject to the four powers of government: taxation, expropriation, regulation and reversion for unpaid debt such as property taxes.
Fee simple owners have a bundle of rights:
- The right to sell an interest
- The right to lease an interest
- The right to occupy a property
- The right to mortgage an interest
- The right to give an interest away
- The right to do nothing
Negotiating a surface lease is exercising one of the rights in the bundle. Once a surface lease is entered into, the lessee has the right to exclusive possession of the leased area. This diminishes the landowners’ rights to the leased area, but it does not leave the landowner without any rights. The landowner retains three important rights:
- The right to get the property back at the end of the term (referred to as a reversionary interest);
- The right to collect the rent;
- The right to protect the property against any wrongful actions of the lessee.