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How to Apply for a Leasehold Mortgage Approval

The Bureau of Indian Affairs reviews and approves leasehold mortgages on trust or restricted land.

You can apply for a leasehold mortgage on trust land by submitting a mortgage package to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agency with jurisdiction over the land to be mortgaged.

What You Need

If you would like to apply for a mortgage on trust or restricted lands owned by a Tribe or another Indian landowner, the first step is to secure a leasehold interest on the land.

The base lease must be executed by the landowner (whether a Tribe or an individual Indian), you as the borrower, and approved by the BIA. An individual may then execute a sublease under the Tribal master lease. Maps, plats, engineering drawings of these developments may have been prepared by Indian Health Service or by the Tribe.

In the case of trust or restricted fee tracts that have multiple Indian landowners, consent may be required from all other landowners before proceeding with a mortgage application with a lender.

How to Apply

By Mail

With a BIA-approved lease, work with your lender to compile a leasehold mortgage package to submit to the BIA agency with jurisdiction over the land to be mortgaged. All included documents should be originals or certified copies.

Required Documents

A leasehold mortgage package must contain the following documents:

  1. BIA lease number or a copy of approved lease.

  2. Leasehold mortgage or deed of trust.

  3. Promissory note.

  4. Consents of landowners or notice to landowners.

  5. Survey map with legal description and/or lot number.

Additional Documents

In addition to the documents above, the following should be included if they are applicable to the leasehold mortgage:

  1. Program riders for any loan programs the borrower is participating in.

  2. Satisfaction of previous mortgage, when applying for refinancing.

Next Steps

The BIA will review your mortgage package and respond in writing within 10 business days if there are any errors or missing documents.

During this preliminary review, the BIA will request an environmental review on the land to be mortgaged in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This NEPA review may take the form of an environmental assessment, an environmental impact statement, or designating the land as a categorical exclusion.

The BIA will review and respond to leasehold mortgage packages in writing within 20 business days of receiving all required documents.

The BIA will review and respond to right-of-way mortgage packages in writing within 30 business days of receiving all required documents.

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