As a restricted landowner, you may decide to sell, gift, subdivide, or otherwise change the character of the property, or your interest in the property. These transactions require approval by the Secretary of the Interior, or his authorized delegate, which in many cases is the BIA Regional Director. For any transaction, the ownership of the requestor will need to be confirmed. Documents that can verify ownership interest are the Certificate of Native Allotment, Native Restricted Trustee Deed, Probate Decision, or other BIA approved conveyance document.
Any time that you wish to sell or gift a portion of your restricted property, and an adequate aliquot parts legal description is not available to describe the portion, a formal subdivision of the property is required first. The BIA does not have funds to assist with the costs of subdividing, but will need to review and approve the plat.
Below is a brief description of the different Conveyance transactions that we can assist you with. For information on the steps involved in each process, click on the link below the description.
Sales (Advertised and Negotiated)
If you would like to sell your property, but do not have an interested buyer, we can advertise the property for you through an Advertised Sale transaction. The advertisement will run for a thirty day period, at the end of which there is a bid opening. When any bids are received, they are forwarded to you to determine which you would like to move forward with. If no bids are received, you can list your property with a realtor or otherwise advertise it yourself. Due to funding limitations, if you request that we advertise your property again, it will be a low priority and could take several years to be re-advertised. **Please note that you cannot list your restricted property with a realtor if you have not already gone through the BIA advertisement process.**
If a party approaches you with an offer to purchase your property, and you would like to accept the offer and sell the property, that offer should be submitted to our office, and a Negotiated Sale transaction will be initiated for you.
The sale of any restricted Native land must be at or above the fair market value, with limited exceptions for sales to a family member or where there is a special relationship.
For land that has two or more owners, an Application for Sale must be completed by all of the co-owners. Without 100% agreement from the owners, we cannot move forward with a sale transaction.
If you wish to give your interest in restricted property to someone without receiving compensation in return, that can be accomplished through a gift deed. A gift must be to an immediate family member (i.e. - mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister) or someone with whom you share a special relationship. Once the gift deed is approved and title is transferred, the recipient will have full control of the interest. Gift deeds are a permanent action and cannot be retracted.
As an heir of a deceased Native landowner who receives undivided interests in an allotment, you and the other heirs may request to partition (divide) the property so that you each end up with 100% ownership of an individual lot within the allotment. This can be accomplished through the Partition process, which is a two-step process of subdividing the property, then exchanging deeds to consolidate the interests for each lot.
If you wish to subdivide your allotment so that you can leave individual lots for your children, or to develop and sell, or for other purposes, our office will need to review and approve the plat. We recommend that you work with a certified Federal surveyor (CFedS), and that they contact our BLM Indian Lands Surveyor before they begin the process to ensure that they understand our role in reviewing the preliminary and final plats. Information on finding a CFedS can be found at http://cfeds.org.
If you wish to offer your restricted property as collateral for a loan, you and the lender will need to work with our office to get the mortgage recorded on title. If you have undivided interests in the property, you will be required to obtain a lease from the other landowners on title, and then obtain a leasehold mortgage. Leasehold mortgages only encumber the lease interest, and not the property title. The important thing to remember with mortgages is that if you default on your loan, the lender can foreclose on the property, and we cannot protect you from the loss.
As a restricted landowner, you can sell your property, purchase a new property of commensurate value using the proceeds from the sale, and have the restrictions transferred to the new property in a process called a 409(a) exchange. 409(a) Exchanges require a title commitment from a Title Company to verify that there are no clouds on title for the property that will have the restrictions transferred to it, as well as a Phase 1 Environmental assessment to ensure the property is free of any environmental hazards. The BIA does not have funding to assist with the cost of those services.
Removal of Restrictions
The process of removing restrictions from a Native allotment or townsite lot releases the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) from our fiduciary responsibility of providing services to Native landowners. Once restrictions are removed from a Native allotment or townsite lot, the land will become subject to local zoning ordinances and state or local property taxes, as well as subject to alienation.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region
Real Estate Services
3601 C Street, Suite 1200 MC-304
Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5947
(800) 645-8465, Extension 2-1