The Surface Rights Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that grants right of entry and assists landowners/occupants and operators resolve disputes about compensation when operators require access to private land or occupied crown land to develop subsurface resources such as oil, gas, and coal or to build and operate pipelines and power transmission lines.

Recovery of Rentals
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
Maximize I have discovered an old well site on my land and have never received any rental payments. What can I do?
Maximize I haven’t received annual rentals for many years. Will I be eligible for all the back rentals?
Maximize Can I still make an application under section 36 of the Surface Rights Act if the Operator is insolvent?
Maximize Where do I get an application forms to apply under s.36?
Maximize Why do I have to file each year even if the operator is no longer active?
Maximize Can I refuse access to the site to the operator?
Minimize Are the operator’s obligations under a surface lease or board order impacted when the Board terminates the operators rights and recommends payment by the Minister of rent arrears under section 36 of the Surface Rights Act?

No. Decisions of the SRB directing payment by the Minister of rent arears do not affect any of the operator’s obligations in relation to the site. Termination orders under section 36 (5) of the Surface Rights Act terminate rights of the operator under the right of entry order or surface lease without affecting any of the operator’s obligations. For example, the termination order does not affect the operator’s responsibility to pay annual compensation and does not affect the operator’s responsibility to reclaim the site. Please note, a termination order under section 36(5) of the SRA is distinct from when a right of entry order is terminated under section 28 of the Surface Rights Act where all rights and obligations in relation to the right of entry order end. 

Minimize Does the Surface Rights Board deal with the reclamation of my wellsite?
No, the Board is not involved in the reclamation of wellsites. For more information on the reclamation process, contact the Alberta Energy Regulator at 403-297-8311 (toll free 855-297-8311) or inquiries@aer.ca.
Minimize Once my claim has been filed, how long does it take to process?

A new claim will take a minimum of 60 days. However, due to the current backlog of applications, processing time may be significantly longer. A repeat claim with the same Operator will usually take less time because the Operator’s entry rights have already been terminated and a statutory declaration is not required.

Minimize Will I be notified when the Board has reached a decision on my application?
Yes, all parties to the application will receive a copy of the decision by mail or email, depending on preference.
Minimize Why is the Board asking about the condition of the land?
The Board has a duty to exercise discretion when processing Recovery of Rentals applications. The Board is required to consider whether directing payment of all the money due would over-compensate the landowner. One of the factors the Board can use to make this decision is the condition of the leased area, whether the landowner is making use of it, and how it is affecting the rest of the land.
Minimize Does the board conduct a hearing to decide my application?
Hearings for Recovery of Rentals applications are almost always done in writing, not by oral hearing. The Board member will look at all documents and written arguments filed by both parties when making its decision. This means it is your responsibility to make sure the Board has everything you want it to consider.
Minimize Do I need to return the statutory declaration?

If you don't complete and return the statutory declaration, it will take longer to process your application.  The Board needs  to be satisfied that you didn't receive the amount owing to you from the operator.  Rather than showing up in person at a hearing to swear the amount wasn't paid to you, a statutory declaration can be provided instead.

Minimize The information contained in the Statutory Declaration is not correct. How do I fix it?

To assist you with completing the statutory declaration, the Board has filled out the required information for you. Although we try to be as accurate as possible, sometimes there are mistakes. Prior to signing the statutory declaration, please read it over carefully. If all of the information is correct, including the land description and annual payment amount, please sign it in front of a Commissioner for Oaths and return it to our office. If you notice any errors, you can make any necessary changes before you sign it. Any changes must be initialed by you and by the Commissioner of Oaths at the time of signing.

Minimize Do I need to return the Condition of Leased Area form?
If you don’t complete and return the Condition of Leased Area Form it will take longer to process your application. The Board relies on this information to decide if it should direct the Minister to pay, and if so, what amount. The Board has a duty to exercise discretion when deciding these applications. The Board can direct the Minister to pay a reduced amount if its determined payment of the full amount would over-compensate the landowner. Some of the factors the Board considers in this decision are, at the time of non-payment, what was the condition of the leased area, how was the site being used, and how the site was affecting the surrounding land.
Minimize Can I add additional years of missed payments to my unprocessed application?

Yes, you can do that by completing the Request to Amend s. 36 Application form and submitting it to the Board. The request to amend only needs to be returned if, after submitting your original application, additional due dates have passed and you have not been paid for those years. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until we have processed your application, and then apply under our streamlined repeat application process for the additional missed rental payments.

Minimize What if I cannot provide the information requested in the letter within 45 days?
You application will be not be processed until the requested information is provided.  If we receive you documents after the 45 day deadline has passed, your application will be returned to the queue for processing in the order it was originally received.
Minimize What happens after I return the requested information?

After we receive your submissions, Board administration will review your application. If they find an error or if any required information is missing, they will contact you. If they don’t find any errors, they will give your application to a panel of the Board for review and decision. The panel will either make a decision right away or ask you for additional information. If the panel decides that you are entitled to the money owing to you, it will demand payment from the operator. If the operator does not pay, the Board may then direct the Minister to pay.

Minimize Why does it take so long to have my application reviewed?
The high volume of applications received is creating a significant backlog which is resulting in extended wait times to have applications processed. In addition, the Board must follow legislative requirements and procedural fairness where all parties are given an opportunity to respond to the application. We understand the length of time to process your application can be frustrating and we greatly appreciate your patience.
Minimize After my application was submitted I received a partial payment of the annual rental owed. Can I apply for the remaining amount owing?

Yes, you may apply to the Board to recover the balance of the money owed in the same manner as if you received no payment at all. If you receive a payment while your application is pending, or a different operator has showed up at the site, or the land is sold, please notify the Board in writing as soon as possible.

Minimize Whom can I contact if I have concerns about the lease site?

If you have concerns or questions about the site, you can contact the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) toll-free in Alberta by dialing 310-0000 and then enter 780‑427‑8050 (Edmonton office) or 403‑297‑8955 (Calgary office).

Minimize Where can I find a Commissioner for Oaths?

Many offices that provide professional services have someone on staff who can commission oaths. Some will do so for free, but others will charge a small fee. The following people are Commissioners for Oaths in Alberta: notaries, lawyers, police officers, commissioned officers in the Canadian Forces, political representatives (MPs, Senators, MLAs, municipal counselors, school board trustees), and anyone else who has successfully applied to the government of Alberta to be a Commissioner for Oaths.

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