Frequently Asked Questions - DNRC Residential Lease Lots
Q. How can I go about obtaining a State residential lease?
There are two ways:
If a current lessee wishes to discontinue their interest in the lease property, they would market and sell their "improvements" (i.e., personal property and utilities) and assign the lease agreement to the buyer(subject to approval by DNRC). In the case of an vacated lease, the lease would be posted on our Residential Leasing page, and be available for competitive bid for a new lessee. In either case, any improvements must be compensated to the previous owner. Information on improvements on specific available lots can be found within the lot’s Bid Package on the Residential Leasing page.
Occasionally, new sites become available or an existing site is abandoned. If such a situation exists, the lease would be posted on our Residential Leasing page and be available for competitive bid. The bid winner becomes the lessee of the real property, under the terms and conditions of the State Trust leasing program. The DNRC handles this process through this website, the Helena office, and local Unit/Land Offices.
Q. Can I build on a leased lot?
Yes. Subject to the lease manager's pre-authorization and meeting all applicable local and state laws.
Q. What is the term of a state lease?
At the discretion of the Department, the term for a residential lease is typically 10 or 15 years. For specific mortgaging purposes a lease term may be extended up to 35 years. Leases all have an expiration date on the last day of February. When a lease is assigned, all terms and conditions of the original lease remain in place. The Department may renew the lease upon notification to the lessee. At this time, the lease is not subject to competitive bid upon renewal.
Q. Can the lessee sublet the improvements on the state lease site?
Yes, the lessee shall have the right to sublease the land to another party upon the same terms and conditions as those upon which he leases it from the State, provided that no such sublease shall be legal until a copy thereof has been filed with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and approved by the Director. If a lessee subleases State land on terms less advantageous to the sublessee than the terms given by the State, the Director shall cancel the lease subject to the appeal procedure provided in Section 77-6-211, MCA.
Q. Who is responsible for the maintenance of the road to the state lease lot?
The lessee is responsible for road maintenance to the state lease lot.
Q. How often will the annual lease payment be subject to change?
The majority of leases have a payment calculated per Alternative 3B, which forecasts an annual change based on several factors. To see projected payment amounts under Alternative 3B, in-put the lease number of the lot you are interested in on the Real Estate Lease Billing Scenario web page. If you’ve made a bid, that bid amount will be your annual lease fee until such time as the payments under Alt. 3B are higher than the bid amount. The lease will join the Alt. 3B trajectory at that time. All state leases are expected to have an Alt. 3B payment calculation before 2020. The Alt. 3B review period will begin in 2024.
Q. What is the lease billing process?
Leases are billed annually on January 1. Many lessees have opted to be billed twice a year, in which case the two billing dates are January 1 and July 1 annually.
If the lease fee is not paid by March 1, a $25 late fee is assessed. If payment is not received by April 1, the lease is automatically canceled. In some cases, a cancelled lease may be reinstated for a minimum fee of $500. The second-half due date for semiannual billing is September 1. If payment is not received by October 1 the lease is canceled, though may be reinstated for a minimum fee of $500.
Q. How is this state land different from state land management by Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks?
The state land under the lease is State School Trust land managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The state received this land from the federal government through the Enabling Act in the late 1800's. The Enabling Act and the Montana Constitution provide direction that the trust lands must be managed to provide income and that the trusts be compensated full market value for any use.
Q. What property taxes will be assessed?
The lessee is responsible for the assessment of personal property taxes on the improvements attached to the real estate. All personal property tax shall be current. Taxes on the improvements must be paid current prior to assignment. The value of the land is not taxed.
Q. What is needed to assign a lease when the lessee is deceased?
The person who was appointed as personal representative of the estate of the lessee must provide documentation of their appointment to act in the capacity of personal representative for the lessee and provide a copy of the lessee's death certificate. The personal representative must sign the assignment form as they are acting on behalf of the deceased lessee.
Q. Am I allowed to post my leased residential lot with signage?
No. It is state law that you may not post your property with any signage, including no trespassing signs.