The Banff town is situated inside the Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885, and the world’s third. Because of the national park, two real estate rules are very different here. Before buying or even looking for a property in Banff, check the information below:
“Need to Reside”
If you are planning to buy a property in Banff, you have to meet the “need to reside” requirements of the National Park Regulations to ensure that community residential lands are available exclusively for those whose primary objective is to live and work in the community, rather than recreational or second home purposes.
According to the National Parks Lease and License of Occupation Regulations an eligible resident is defined as:
(a) an individual whose primary employment is in the park,
(b) an individual who operates a business (“business” means a business that is licensed under the National Parks Business Regulations or under a by-law passed by the Corporation of the Town of Banff.) in the park and whose presence at the place of business is necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business,
(c) a retired individual who resides in the park and who, for five consecutive years immediately prior to retirement,
(i) was employed primarily in that park, or
(ii) operated a business in that park and whose presence at the place of business was necessary for the day-to-day operation of the business,
(d) a retired individual who resided in the park at the time of the individual’s retirement and who resided in that park on July 30, 1981,
(e) an individual who is a student in full-time attendance at an educational institution that is located within the park and registered under the Income Tax Act or applicable provincial legislation relating to education,
(f) an individual who is a lessee of public lands in the park and who
(i) was the lessee of those public lands prior to May 19, 1911, or
(ii) is a descendant, by blood or adoption, of an individual who was the lessee of those public lands prior to May 19, 1911, or
(g) the spouse or common-law partner or a dependant of an individual referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (f).
Please note that:
- You can lease your property in Banff even if you are not an eligible resident because the restrictions apply not to the ownership of property in the National Park, but the occupancy of it. However, you do need to be an eligible resident to reside here.
- A Home Occupation business or a Bed & Breakfast home does not satisfy the requirements of eligible residency.
- Eligible residency are reinforced by Parks Canada to ensure that those living in the community have an established need to reside – non-compliance with lease terms can result in lease cancellation.
- It is a criminal offense to make a false statutory declaration of eligible residency.
When you buy inside a National Park, you are not really buying the land, but ‘leasing’ it from the Canadian Federal Government – they are the landlords and these Leases are for a term of 42 years with a right to renew.
Please note that your legal fees will be higher because you have an additional step to get the existing Lease transferred.
For more information, contact:
Banff National Park, Realty and Municipal Services Office