(1) All land sales are subject to the provisions of 77-2-318 through 77-2-326, MCA.
(2) The department shall set the date of the auction. Bidders may appear personally or be represented by a legally authorized representative.
(3) As required by 77-2-322, MCA, the department shall, at a minimum:
(a) publish notice of the auction in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the auction is to take place, once each week for four consecutive weeks preceding the due date for bid deposits; and
(b) post the notice on the department's web site or other equivalent electronic medium and provide links to associated realty web sites, when feasible.
(4) A person wishing to bid upon a nominated state trust land sale unit offered for sale at auction shall submit a bid deposit and execute a purchase agreement with the department. The bid deposit and purchase agreement must be postmarked no later than 20 days before the date of the auction.
(5) Subject to (6), land must be sold to the highest bidder who consummates the terms of the sale.
(6) In accordance with 77-2-324, MCA, the current lessee has the preference right to match the high bid.
(7) The purchaser shall pay closing costs, including but not limited to:
(a) the cost of the appraisal;
(b) title insurance;
(c) filing fees;
(d) survey, if necessary; and
(e) water rights transfer.
(8) The department shall retain the bid deposit and processing costs of the successful bidder. The department shall return the bid deposits of all unsuccessful bidders within 15 business days following the auction.
(9) If the highest bidder fails to consummate the sale for any reason the bidder forfeits the bid deposit and processing costs. The department may then offer the state trust land sale unit to the next highest bidder at the final sale price.
(a) If the next highest bidder, or a subsequent bidder, in sequence of bid amount, agrees to the terms of the sale, that bidder shall complete a purchase agreement and submit a bid deposit and processing costs to the department.
(b) The bid deposit and processing costs will be returned to the highest bidder if a subsequent bidder completes a purchase agreement and submits a bid deposit and processing costs.
(10) If the final bidder who agrees to consummate the sale fails to comply with the terms of the sale for any reason, that bidder's bid deposit and processing costs are forfeited.
(a) The bid deposit must be credited to the land banking trust fund.
(b) The processing costs will be credited to the land banking administration account.