Indian Lease Land

Leased Land Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an Indian Land Lease?
    • An Indian land lease on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is a contract between the Indian Landowner and the lessee. The landowner conveys the right to use and occupy the property in exchange for rent.
    • The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation encompasses approximately 28,000 of land in the western Coachella Valley, including portions of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, and unincorporated areas of Riverside County. There are 1,175 commercial leases, 7,671 residential subleases and 11,118 time shares on Indian land leases under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs – Palm Springs Agency.
    • An Indian land lease on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation may be negotiated for any period of time but may not exceed 99 years.
  • What is the role of the BIA?
    • The Bureau of Indian Affairs-Palm Springs Agency provides technical assistance to Indian landowners on matters of real property management. The Bureau of Indian Affairs also holds approval authority for leasing of trust lands on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.
    • The Bureau of Indian Affairs does not represent developers, homeowners or those who lease the land; however the Palm Springs Agency staff is available to answer questions regarding leasing of federal trust lands on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. 
  • What is the difference between trust land and fee land?
    • The term “trust”land refers to land held in trust by the United States for the beneficial use of an individual Indian landowner or Tribe. In contrast, “fee” land is not held in trust by the United States and implies that the owner of the land has broader property interest.
  • I have a residential lease, does that mean the land is in trust?
    • Not necessarily. Residential leasing is not exclusive to Indian trust lands. In fact, developers in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere have purchased land in fee, developed the property, and then leased the property to homeowners. When a residential lease encumbers fee land the Bureau of Indian Affairs does not have jurisdiction. 
  • Who do I contact if I want to extend my lease?
    • Indian landowners, at their discretion, may enter into lease agreements or extend existing lease agreements. The Bureau of Indian Affairs does not compel landowners to enter into new leases or extend existing leases.
      If you want to extend your residential sublease you should first contact the lessor from whom you leased your land. If you lease directly from an Indian landowner you may submit your request for a lease extension directly to the landowner or their representative.  To obtain copies of your lessor’s name and address please contact the Land Titles and Records Office (LTRO) at the following number: Realty Services Manager – ACBCI Land, Titles, and Records– (760) 416-3289.
    • The Agency is strictly prohibited from providing an Indian landowner’s telephone contact information.
    • You must provide LTRO with sufficient evidence of your interest in the leasehold estate before your lessor’s name and address will be released.
    • All applicable administrative fees will apply.
  • How do I get a copy of my lease?
    • You may obtain a copy of your lease from the Land Titles and Records Office (LTRO) provided you are a party to the lease contract. If you are a lessor or lessee, or their representative, please contact: Realty Services Manager – ACBCI Land, Titles, and Records– (760) 416-3289
    • You must provide LTRO with sufficient evidence of your interest in the leasehold estate before documents will be released.
    • All applicable administrative fees will apply.
  • When does my lease expire?
  • The County Recorder’s Office rejected my documents, what do I do?
    • Residential leasehold assignments are generally recorded in the Riverside County Recorder’s Office by the Escrow Officer. The recorded documents are referred to as an Assignment, Acceptance and Consent, or some variation thereof.
    • Before the documents are recorded in County, it is recommended that the Escrow Officer review their cover page and the Consent pages. If the landowners or the lessor consented to the Assignment, then the Consent should be referenced in the cover page. However, if consent to the Assignment was delegated from the Indian landowner to the Agency Superintendent, the Escrow Officer’s cover page submitted to the County Recorder’s Office should exclude any reference to the Consent. In either case the Consent page should be submitted for recording.
    • The County Recorder’s Office will only look for notarized signatures on documents specifically referenced in the Escrow Officer’s cover page. Therefore, it is also recommended that the Escrow Officer’s cover page makes no reference to the BIA approval page.
    • Escrow’s Cover Page -> BIA Approval Page -> Assignment -> Acceptance -> Consent