Casual Legal: Transfers of interests in land for less than market value

By Jeff Daniels
Reynolds Mirth Richards Farmer LLP
Alberta Municipalities Casual Legal Service Provider

Pursuant to Section 70 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA), if a municipality proposes to transfer or grant an estate or interest in land for less than its market value, the proposal must be advertised. “Market value” is not defined in the MGA and is most commonly determined with an appraisal.

The advertising requirement applies to any transfer or grant of interest in land for less than market value, including sales and leases.

Section 606 establishes how the proposal must be advertised and what must be included in the advertisement. Notice of the proposed sale, lease or disposal of interest must be:

  • Published at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in at least one newspaper or other publication circulating in the area to which the proposed matter relates
  • Mailed or delivered to every residence in the area to which the proposed matter relates, or
  • Given by a method provided for in an advertisement bylaw pursuant to Section 606.1

Because the proposal must be advertised, it is subject to petition under Section 231. The notice must include an outline of the procedure to be followed by anyone wishing to file a petition.

Municipalities must wait out the 60-day petition period before proceeding with the transaction. It is important to appreciate this procedure early in discussions with potential purchasers and tenants so transactions can be structured to allow appropriate time for the municipality to observe its requirements.

Section 70 does not apply if the sale or granting of an interest in land is:

  • To be used for supplying a public utility
  • Transferred or granted under a tax recovery transfer before the period of redemption
  • To be used by a non-profit organization within the meaning of Section 241(f).

To access Alberta Municipalities Casual Legal Helpline, Alberta Municipalities members can call toll-free to 1-800-661-7673 or send an casuallegal [at] (email) to reach the municipal legal experts at Reynolds Mirth Richards and Farmer LLP. For more information on the Casual Legal Service, please call 310-MUNI (6864) or send an riskcontrol [at] (email) to speak to Alberta Municipalities Risk Management staff. Any Regular or Associate member of Alberta Municipalities can access the Casual Legal Service.

DISCLAIMER: This article is meant to provide information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. You should seek the advice of legal counsel to address your specific set of circumstances. Although every effort has been made to provide current and accurate information, changes to the law may cause the information in this article to be outdated.