Regulations updated for tribal home site leases

Noel Lyn Smith
Navajo Nation

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation Council's Resources and Development Committee has approved amending regulations to apply for home site leases on tribal land.

A home site lease is needed to establish a residential area on the Navajo Nation, and it is primarily used to withdraw land for developing a single-family residence.

Leases are generally authorized for 75 years and for up to one acre of trust or fee land within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation, as well as allotments held by the tribal government.

Land Department Manager Mike Halona said in a telephone interview today that the amendments were under development for nine years.

He said the amendments approved on Oct. 4 only apply to new applications for home site leases. Home site leases authorized before the committee's approval will not be affected, he said.

Among the items amended were fees for applications, annual fees and fines.

The fee for submitting a new home site lease application increased from $15 to $30.

Also increased were the fees to assign, amend or terminate home site leases. Those fees increased from $15 to $45 each. The fees cover requests to assign leases to new names; to update information such as changes to a legal name, marital status or land description; and to end leases.

The annual fee for leasing land will increase from $1 a year to $1 each month.

Halona said the last amendments to the process were completed in 1993.

The bill proposing the amendments was introduced last year in November and was assigned to the Resources and Development Committee, which had final authority.

The committee tabled the legislation to allow the land department to collect addition input and conduct public hearings.

Hearings and information sessions were held by the department and other entities from August 2007 to this year.

Halona said information about the changes will be posted on the department's website,, and employees are undergoing education about the amendments.

There are also plans to provide public education about the revisions, he said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.