« May 25th is National Missing Children's DayA Place To Relax… and Reflect »


Comment from: maja [Visitor]  

what about water access without ownership when a hiway seperates your property from the lake. If there was a dock there already, why can’t I use it?

Note from Jody: Generally you can use the dock, best to check with your township and MNR, to be absolutely certain about any local by-laws.

01/26/11 @ 17:17
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]  

What is the easiest way (on my computer) to find out who owns the mineral rights to my property? I own 3 lots(133 acres) in northern ontario and I think the mineral rights holder has let his ownership lapse because he has not spent any required time on the lots in the past 5 years! I would like to take any necessary steps to purchase the mineral rights. How do I find out who the holder is?,and how do I formally purchase these rights?

Kevin, search claimaps, answers can be found through MNDM for mining rights.pin

02/16/12 @ 13:26
Comment from: Andrew [Visitor]  

What happens when the gov. re-assess the riparian zone (say lake Huron water levels drop and expose 20m of new beach), where does the ownership of this “new land” lie? I would think it would go to those who own the land directly adjacent to the “new land"? Any information would be appreciated.

Hi Andrew: Andrew, you’re correct under the right circumstances although there is no reason for the gov’t to do anything for this to happen. Jody

07/24/12 @ 19:55
Comment from: Mark Landry [Visitor]  
Mark Landry

I am considering purchasing a parcel of waterfront property. Years ago, there was a dam built at the end of the lake. 9 acres of deeded property was lost underwater as a result. The current owner claims that he’s allowed to do any work such as removal of some rocks on the shore and to some extent in the water since his property line is in the water. Is this true?

Mark, you could be right but not if there were flooding rights on the lake.
And everyone else who reads this 3 year old post but still has unanswered questions, many of them are easily answered; by your local surveyor.

08/31/12 @ 08:30
Comment from: Gord [Visitor]  

Mark, you could be right but not if there were flooding rights on the lake.
And everyone else who reads this 3 year old post but still has unanswered questions, many of them are easily answered; by your local surveyor.

Note from Jody: Great advice, Gord. I have to tell you, I have answered this question, privately. I have heard of property where the survey line is now out in the middle of the lake. In that case, the owners were told they didn’t own the water, but owned the land under it.

09/19/12 @ 15:12
Comment from: dale foster [Visitor]
dale foster

what year did this 66ft distance come into law?

Hi Dale: This dates back to the original survey of the province, by the colonial government, in the 1800s.


04/18/13 @ 12:15
Comment from: Gina [Visitor]  

Question…I have a friend who bought a parcel of land 5 yrs ago. He has recently been evicted from it given 2 months to remove his house and shed he build because land owner found out that he wasn’t able to severe it with the bank. He has purchase receipt and receipts showing he paid property taxes for past 5 yrs…..What are his rights

Gina… this is one for the lawyers, for sure!

05/02/13 @ 20:26
Comment from: leo [Visitor]

I have purchased a waterfront property in northern Ontario (Kirkland area), which the water front itself extends past my lot and goes in front of two other peoples properties to my right and extends in front of another one to my left. can I stop them from continuously crossing over my property, setting fire pits, tents or placing waterlines across.

Hi Leo: my kneejerk response is that you would have to gate it off. I think you’d be best to speak to your lawyer about this one, too!

05/08/13 @ 19:27
Comment from: d baril [Visitor]  
d baril

We own the waterfront of our neighbours cottage there is no shoreline reserve they harrass and use this property we pay mortgsge and taxes for had to be bought as parcel to acquire our waterfront they won’t buy from us what can we do to keep them off this property plus their waterlines its large 80 x 75 feet

Note from Jody:

You would have to gate it off. Talk to you lawyer about their waterline… a lot of it will have to do with how long it’s been there.

06/03/13 @ 09:22
Comment from: Theresa Parish-Donald [Visitor]  
Theresa Parish-Donald

My husband and myself purchased a home on lake simcoe and were told by both our realtor and selling realtor that we had “deeded beach rights"? On closing day we found out that we indeed did not. Our lawyer told us that had to be written in our agreement (we did not know this). There is a walkway that neighbours use and we use however we do not have deeded beach rights? Or do we? If we decide to sell can we sell with deeded beach rights the same that the listing agent did? And is our home worth more money with/without the deeded beach rights?

Theresa…. how awful. Yes, of course a property with deeded beach rights is worth more than one without… I think you need to speak to your lawyer. Without knowing all of the details, it’s difficult to comment, but it sounds like misrepresentation on the part of the Sellers and also… maybe some negligence on the part of your realtor. YOU MUST DISCLOSE the fact that there are not deeded beach rights, should you decide to sell… unless, of course, you somehow secure rights in the meantime.

07/07/13 @ 14:24
Comment from: jim [Visitor]

I recently purchased 5 acres in niagara region it was declared as partial wetlands and borders a manmade lake on west side owned by nieghbour.I have recieved a letter from mnr ontario staing that it is not wetlands because I questioned my first land assessment so I am fine with that.I want to knoe what my rights are regarding the lake on my west side my property starts about 3ft away from the lake and merges into it part way along the shore line my neighbour has decided to build up beside us with fill changing the gradient of his property towards the lake and us and he intends to fill the lake beside us so as he says he can access his llake without being on our land.Can he do this?Where my land toucheds the lake do I have any rights to the water or the lake.

Jim, you need to go speak to the municipality. Find out if there has been any study done on the potential risk of his plan and also, if he’s gotten permits. You might be wise to speak to a lawyer!

09/27/13 @ 17:41
Comment from: Scott Peterson [Visitor]
Scott Peterson

My wife and I are considering purchasing property in E-NE Ontario in the near future. Is it possible to buy acreage and clear area to build a farm using the existing timber, minerals (stone for walls and the like mainly but I wouldn’t toss a shiny nugget out if I found it.) and use of the water on or under the land?
Does the Crown reserve the right to deed or sell rights to land I purchase or is it possible to secure all of the land use rights with the purchase?

Hi Scott, every township has different rules and regulations. A lawyer can advise you on whether or not the mineral and timber rights are owned by someone else or if they’re included in your bundle of rights.

10/08/13 @ 02:23
Comment from: seymour [Visitor]  

Looking to buy a piece of property in Northern Ontario. There is a
“Transfer of Flooding Rights” registered on the title. What does this mean.

Hi Seymour, Flooding rights have to do with a property that backs up water on another property. It sounds like an adjacent property owner (or maybe the township) may have the right to cause flooding to that property. Time to call a lawyer!!

07/13/14 @ 12:04
Comment from: Bill Weiss [Visitor]
Bill Weiss

25 years ago I provided deeded right of way across my land to neighbouring land locked summer cottages (3).
It was with the understanding the cottages would be summer use only and they are zoned Limited Service Residential. Two of the cottages have since changed ownership and they want year round access (I do not plow the l/2 km. laneway leading to the cottages in the winter.) Can I be forced to allow them winter access
other than by snowmobile? I am of the opinion they are not allowed to disturb any surface materials, which should include snow. Thanks for your response.

Hi Bill… have you given deeded access to these cottagers? If so, that may pose somewhat of an issue. Many landowners limit access by installing a locked gate but giving specific people a key. This means that they can’t gain unlimited access by virtue of continued use of the property. I don’t believe that you can be forced to provide year round access to these people, nor should you be responsible for snow removal! Of course, a lawyer will be able to give you the best advice, but I think that you need to consider a gate.

09/18/14 @ 08:46
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]

Hi Jody

I own a small Island (cottage) property in ontario.

In the fall lots of cottagers from the mainland tow their docks over to the protected side of my island and tie them up for the winter.
They do not ask for permission, nor do they normally leave any indication as to who they are.

This year one group of mystery docks has a sign on it advertising winter storage of docks.
I think its pretty nervy of someone to take money from a cottager for storing their dock and then store it on my property without my permission.

It has been mentioned to me that these people may have a right to store their docks on my property because of the 66 foot road allowance, so they are not actually encroaching on my property.

What rights have I with respect to people storing their docks on my island property?

I very much look forward to your


11/03/14 @ 10:24
Comment from: Jody [Member]  

Hi Kevin…

Wow. I think it’s pretty nervy, too!

You need to contact your lawyer to find out if there is a shore/road allowance in effect at your property… and get some advice. I would also check with the local municipal office to find out if this sort of enterprise is permitted at the site.

It doesn’t sound kosher to me.

11/10/14 @ 11:39
Comment from: Jay Evans [Visitor]
Jay Evans

We have owned 300 acres south of Thunder Bay for 22 years. When first bought, our lawyers realized we didn’t have mineral/surface rights(our property is surveyed as a mining location) and we went through the process of obtaini ownership. We now find ourselves wanting to cut timber on our property and are being told by the MNR that we don’t have timber rights to our 300 acres. Shouldn’t our lawyers have noticed this at our time of purchase? There is talk that we are deemed a ‘nature reserve’ but we have never been told that as the owners of this property. Of course this is happening just before the holidays & the MNR is off until Jan 3, so the person we should contact is on holidays. We are livid that we have been told we don’t own our trees. Thank you for your time & our venue, Jen Evans

Hi Jen, I can understand why you would be upset about this… but you would have to ask your lawyer specifically about timber rights.

12/22/14 @ 21:13
Comment from: Jody [Member]  

Hi Jay & Jen:

Unfortunately, 22 years ago the regulations surrounding the purchase and sale of property were very different and lawyers seldom conducted searches that included mineral/surface/mining/timber and other special rights… also, even if you have mining rights, I understand that you have to stake the claim and work the claim according to regulation, in order to keep it current. You would have to obtain a prospecting license in order to do this. In addition- If you are hearing rumblings that this property could be turned into a “nature reserve", you need to get some legal advice!

01/04/15 @ 16:26
Comment from: Tina [Visitor]  

We bought property 5 years ago hrs to our closing our lawyer told us that the property we are buying with a house on it for 14 years has mineral rights to it what does this mean and can I get it lifted we were pretty much sitting in driveway with u hauls full.

Tina… call your lawyer. You need to find out if the mining claim is active and who owns the mineral rights. I have to tell you, it’s not uncommon to have someone own the mineral rights and it can be messy. Get some legal advice.

02/15/15 @ 18:43
Comment from: Mike Cooper [Visitor]  
Mike Cooper

I am a residential property owner. The City of Hamilton is collecting the storm water run off from 22 acres of residential properties and allowing it to flow through my property. I do not have an easement on my property nor have I given the City permission to use my property to drain this storm water run off. Does the city have the right to do this? What are my property rights as a property owner?

Wow Mike… you need to check with your lawyer… they may have the right to take necessary measures during what they consider an emergency!

03/15/15 @ 11:43
Comment from: bob floyd [Visitor]
bob floyd

Around 1950 the government changed ownership of the beaches in Ont.. to the low water mark. does the ownership revert to the ownership of the upland adjactant?

You may find that the low watermark is still underwater… to be certain there would need to be a current survey, which would likely be costly!

03/23/15 @ 09:47
Comment from: Mary [Visitor]  

I own 100 acres of vacant waterfront land but not timber and mineral rights. They are owned privately. I own the property and the surface rights. Timber owner wants to log the property. I have seen badly logged properties, much to my horror. Can I insist that the logger use Ministry guidelines to log my property, are there any other standards? Can I force him to go into a slash management agreement with me so that he must use a chipper and not make a mess on the surface and leave branches, tree tops (slash) and bits of logs strewn all over the place? Can I control his access and exit for I have several entrances? Does he need my written permission to go on my property. Can I control or limit the time of harvest so he does not create major ruts on existing roads and trails? How do I find a lawyer who understands this process to act on my behalf?

Hi Mary,

Timber and mineral rights have some serious implications. It’s kind of scary, last I heard they only need to provide you with written notice of their intentions- and that can be put in the windshield of your vehicle at the moment they arrive to start work! There are rules and regulations that these folks have to follow… but it depends on the nature of their licensing, etc. Check around locally, many communities have organized groups to deal with these issues and you’re likely better off with a local lawyer. It might be wise to contact FOCA they represent cottage associations: (705) 749-3622.

04/11/15 @ 11:41
Comment from: Tom [Visitor]  

In 2006 we purchased a property that was severed from a camp. The original owner applied for the severance stating that the camp would be closed and used for residential/recreation. After we purchased, the owner kept his camp going on the piece of property he retained. Secondly, the driveway was divided into 5 pieces and we have ownership of 3 of these pieces. The owner has sold his property and now an even bigger camp operation has been created by the new owners. I want to fence off our property, including the portions of the driveway that are defined as ours. Can I do that? Can someone who varied the use (operate as a camp verses residential) from the original intent be denied access to the driveway portion that we own?

Ouch, Tom, I can only imagine that this would make things uncomfortable. You might be able to put up gates… but I would strongly suggest you get legal advice before you do that. Also, check with the local municipal offices to find out about land use and restrictions for the campground.

05/04/15 @ 11:14
Comment from: ann [Visitor]  

we have waterfront property on the Bruce peninsula- lake huron. Our next door neighbours are renting their cottage out full time in the summer months. The neighbours and since last summer now the weekly different renters constantly spend the day in front of our waterfront lot - with their cooler, chairs and have put their boat on top of our canoe. We have a nicer beach. We both own 100 ft. I have been asking the neighbours to use their own waterfront and to educate their renters on repsect for cottage owners. The cottage owner has told me that the renters can spend the day on my waterfront or any waterfront on our bay if they chose. Somehow I have lost the rights to my own property to strangers. I do not have a shore allowance across the front of my property - confirmed at the registry office. What can I do ? - post NO PARKING SIGNS - i know a person can walk along the shoreline but can they sit and spend the day if I ask them to leave?

Wow. I would think that you could post no trespassing signs, or put up a temporary fence of some kind… even a post with ropes. Naturally, I would suggest you speak to your lawyer.

05/31/15 @ 12:09
Comment from: Rick Masters [Visitor]  
Rick Masters

I own waterfront property in Victoria Harbour, ON. I had a survey done of the property and at the time of the survey it was dry land. Over the past few years the water levels in Georgian Bay have risen to the point where approx 100ft of my property from the stakes in now under approx 1 ft of water. To I still own the property under the water and can I put a retaining wall up to re-claim the lost property? Also the people across the street are forever parking their boats in front of my property to the point where I have between 4-5 boats sitting in front of my home. Do I have any Riparian Rights to have them remove their boats to another location so I can enjoy the view of the water instead of their boats.

Hi Rick, Many people have their property lines now under water and in essence, you own the land but not the water. If they’re parking their boats, one might assume they’ve got some kind of anchor attached to your property and you might have a claim. Check with your lawyer.

06/20/15 @ 14:50
Comment from: Mary [Visitor]  

One of the 22 members of a Home Owner’s Assoc. with jointly held Deeded Beach Access has decided they are in control of everything, and even though there is no Board, she has decided she is the President, and can make decisions unilaterally.
She wants to prohibit my deeded access to the beach, and will change the locks or do anything to stop me, because I have opted out of paying dues. She has harassed & harangued all the members & set a deadline before year end.

Can she deny access to deeded/titled property that is part of the deed to my house? She was asked to maintain the books, but was never voted in or anything. Thanks!

Time to look at the by-laws for the Home Association. This may require some research because many of these groups were set up very casually. Check with your local municipality. Look at your deed to make sure the access to the beach was properly recorded. It sounds like the property owners in the area need to seek legal counsel.

06/30/15 @ 13:42
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]

Our intention is to buy a cottage in Haliburton. This deal will be a private deal, without involvement of a real estate agent. The seller is in the process of having his lawyer do a title search on the cottage, and has told us that the hold up is waiting for ‘paperwork’ from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Our lending institution is getting impatient with us as they are wanting an approximate date of when this cottage will be sold to us. Can you provide some reasons as to why the MNR might need to be involved in the sale of a cottage? Thanks in advance

Richard, Have you asked the Sellers this question? Perhaps the MNR has some claim on the property and I would think it’s best for you to have your lawyer do the searches on the property. Ask to have the complete bundle of rights, including mineral, surface, mining, timber etc. investigated. The lawyer could also check for liens or work orders that the MNR might have attached for some kind of breach of regulations.

07/04/15 @ 08:48
Comment from: Florence [Visitor]  

We have a private road that we all pay 200 road maintenance fees. One of the people in our block of land that hads deeded access to the lake refuses to pay road fees because they have a driveway on another road. They also have a culvert & a driveway on our road and use it for boat trailers, path etc. They recently purchased another lot that would be on our road again are saying nope not going to pay for that property either. They have put 2 large docks on the lake & BBQ, tables etc quite messy any suggestions? Do they have to pay the road fees? Are they able to take over a large part of the deeded access?

Hi Florence,

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first complaint that I’ve heard about difficulties collecting for privately maintained roads. Unfortunately, many of these communities were not set up properly when developed. Often there’s no rules against putting temporary structures on a deeded access. You may want to talk to a lawyer about this. Find out if there are any real regulations and check into formalizing the community arrangements.

07/06/15 @ 21:06
Comment from: MTrott [Visitor]

How does “deeded beach access” work?
I am in an area on lake simcoe with a gated beach for association members only. Do all the houses in the area HAVE to pay fees to maintain the property. What if some members don’t pay for various reasons?

Hi M… many of the developments on Simcoe were set up very loosely in the 40’s and 50’s… and there may not be anything legally regulating the community or community association. You need to ask for details on the Association… find out when it was set up, how it was set up and get copies of their articles of incorporation and rules and regulations. If they are set up as a not-for-profit, they will have by-laws. This may require some digging because many of these associations have changed hands over time.

07/12/15 @ 01:08
Comment from: Cindy [Visitor]  

Hi, I own a cottage in NWO on someone else’s land that I inherited from my parents. The cottage was built in 1952 with a handshake and $15 a year compensation by my grandfather with the father of the present owner. There was never a written lease and I am unsure if the property the cabin is built on was registered land at that time. When the son of the first owner took over the land the rent increased, and kept increasing, until last year when we said we felt it was excessive. He relented and then served us written notice (not from a lawyer) that he wants us to remove our improvements from his land in that he has other plans for it. I don’t believe our cottage is moveable, and if moveable, the road is overgrown with trees and unless many come down, it would be impossible. Do we have squatter’s rights? Do we have a 99 year lease based on the $15 and a hand shake?

Cindy… take your letter to a lawyer… this sounds messy. Squatters rights may not apply since you have been paying “rent” and I haven’t heard of a 99 year lease based on a handshake.

07/25/15 @ 12:15
Comment from: marlene [Visitor]  

We own a house facing the Talbot River in Beaverton Ont. There is a Ministry right of way in front of us that of course is owned by the ministry. We want to put the house up for sale. Can we list it as being water front? Thanks

Hi Marlene… it’s unusual to hear that the ministry has a right of way… do you mean shore allowance? We have seen cases where there is an unopened (or unowned) shore allowance… and the property still is listed as “waterfront".

08/11/15 @ 13:46
Comment from: marlene [Visitor]

Our house faces the water at lock 38. the real estate claims we can not list it as waterfront because the front cannot be used to swim or launch a boat. Thank-you Marlene

Hi Marlene… it could be a local regulation. Be sure to include waterfront views in the advertising!

08/11/15 @ 15:44
Comment from: b [Visitor]  

I bought a small cottage to live in on a lake in Ontario, maintenance of the access road was by donation only when I first came in 1999 now I received a letter saying the fee has gone up to 250 per year and I am obligated legally to pay this…my question is am I legally obligated to pay this and how can they switch from donation to legal obligation so quickly.

Time to call a lawyer Bev… find out how the ownership of the road has been registered. You may find that it is a road not assumed by the township and that the road was never really registered to anyone in particular. Your lawyer will advise you how to proceed.

08/11/15 @ 21:28
Comment from: Jody [Visitor]

B….While there may not be any legal obligation to pay the road fees, if you don’t contribute to an otherwise unmaintained road, you may not have a road to access your property any more. Unfortunately, roads need maintenance… and obviously the “donation” thing has not been sufficient. This is, unfortunately, a fairly common issue when lots have been subdivided and sold without bringing the road up to municipal standards and therefore, the road is not maintained by the local authorities. In this case, somebody has to take care of the road.

You can check with the local municipal government to find out who, if anyone, owns the road… and what is required to bring it up to up to standard… but you’re likely to find that it is much more than the fee that has been requested.

08/11/15 @ 21:59
Comment from: Jody [Visitor]

Marlene, There may be a local real estate board by-law that prohibits listing the property as “waterfront". If you know the name of the local association, you can check with them to see if this is the case.

08/11/15 @ 22:00
Comment from: EJ [Visitor]

I own a waterfront cottage adjacent to a municipally owned road allowance. The municipality is clear that it is not an easement or a right of way for back property owners. Property owners at the back lots use the road allowance to access the water but it is not part of their deeds. They have also built docks on finger like land that was the result of dredging and abuts the road allowance. They have built all their docks on my side of the finger like land and their boats are docked in front of my cottage. Do I have any rights? The municipality does not want to assume responsibility for the finger like land structure or the removal of the docks. The MNRF do not want to deal with the docks. The owners of the docks have built on public land (crown land) without permission and it significantly affects my enjoyment of my waterfront property.

Hi EJ… I have found the municipalities all deal with these things differently. The Ministry is usually more concerned about the design of docks and whether or not they impede the natural habitat… in some cases, they feel it actually helps the habitat… go figure!

08/22/15 @ 23:14
Comment from: Nikolai [Visitor]  

Good day,
I have a question. I think that Jackson point is belongs to Georgina municipality. Many people complained of that problem: local residents installed sign “Private” on the beach and not allow to relax here. On my request show me a paper of ownership they answer - we don’t have to. On my request please call police (because I do not believe them) they did not do it. In my opinion, even if it is private you have the right to pass because it is located on the beach. And I do not see houses close to this beach, they are located 100 feet apart. Please send me your answer.
Thank you very much.
Many countries have the law: even if it is a private property, on the beach (lake, river, sea, or ocean) you have right to pass over and even to stay and relax here, I am not sure but,probably, 20-30 feet from the edge of the water line. How to find that these people are lying? Is it an offense to put sign “Private” on the land that is not belongs to you? Thank you.
Nikolai Moroz

P.S. It is located on the intersection Lake Dr. East and Brule Lakeway, far from the houses.

Hi Nikolai, This situation calls for visit to the local municipal offices. They should tell you who owns the property in question. It may well be privately owned and undeveloped- in which case, you are not permitted to trespass. The municipality will tell you if it’s crown land and if you are allowed to use it.

09/02/15 @ 16:34
Comment from: Brad [Visitor]  

I have deeded access to our local lake along with a number of other home owners. They have a formed association that collects fees for these lands (they say it is to pay property tax so the city doesn’t regain the land) I have stated many of times to them that I do not want to be part of this and have no value in using the land in question. They have insisted on me paying dues to the point that now they are taking me to collections to get it. I have never signed any agreement saying I would be part of this. What are my rights? Can they force me into paying these fees? I’m not the only homeowner in this situation and we want them to stop and leave us alone. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Brad, if it’s deeded to you, you are part of this. Talk to your lawyer to see if you can remove the right-of-way. You may want to hold on to it though, when it comes time to sell the property it may have value to prospective buyers.

09/11/15 @ 20:10
Comment from: Jody [Member]  

Hi Brad,

It is best practice for me to tell you to speak to a lawyer about this. That said, I think you should stop into your local municipal offices and find out who actually owns the property over which you enjoy deeded access.

Check your deed to see how this access is worded. If it’s deeded access, someone has to own the property you’re entitled to cross.

There are a lot of subdivisions that were laid out in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s that had very loose arrangements and they included shared ownership in an access lot to the waterfront- in some cases, they never properly registered ownership of the roads or the path to the waterfront.

A lawyer could advise you, but you may get the answers you need, from municipal authorities.

09/11/15 @ 20:47
Comment from: Jody [Member]  

I got this question via email: I was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction. There are 16 houses that have the same deeded access as we do in Omemee, Does one home owner have the right to put up a 24hr video surveillance without the permission of all other home owners?

I suggest you take a look at this site: https://www.ipc.on.ca/images/resources/video-e.pdf

09/29/15 @ 14:18
Comment from: CBB [Visitor]  

I am in the middle of a Separation/Divorce, and have joint ownership with my ex on 100 acres. He has gotten it logged out, and what I am trying to find out is Shouldn’t the logging company have both of our signatures to say they can logged it out? I live in Ontario, and would greatly appreciate any help on this that is possible. Thanks!

Hi There… Call your lawyer. The logger should have been notified.

09/30/15 @ 14:03
Comment from: Peter [Visitor]

here is the situation: There is a 200 acre Muskoka package, with over 2000ft of shore line. The property is currently in a trust and none of the beneficiaries will be able to pay the capital gains tax upon dispersement. I don’t know what the SRA purchase would be, but I assume it would be fairly cost prohibitive as well. Is there such a thing as a legal precedent that would allow a property owner to sever a parcel/parcels of their property without having to purchase the road allowance? It’s been owned by the same family for over 100 years, and the cottage has been located on the SRA for the whole time. (It was the 1st cottage on the lake) Perhaps there is a ’squatters rights’ / grandfather clause where the SRA is defaulted from the crown? Getting desperate for hope!

Peter: This would be a local regulation by the sounds of it. You need to check with your lawyer.

10/25/15 @ 22:32
Comment from: Susan Dupuis [Visitor]
Susan Dupuis

My father in law allowed a brother in law to build a camp on his lot. He has since passed and the land was sold to his 2 sons but the uncle is still there. Can he claim squatters rights. Thanks

Hi Susan, was there anything in writing?

11/29/15 @ 17:52
Comment from: Jody [Visitor]  

Hi Susan,

If he has enjoyed at least 10 years of uninterrupted use, he likely has a claim.

This is something you need to discuss with a lawyer.

11/29/15 @ 17:58
Comment from: Jody [Visitor]

re: logging without permission:

I gave the writer the following advice:

I’d call the logger right away and advise them to cease and desist… and explain that you own the property. Your ex may not have told them.
You probably need legal assistance- You should find out the name of the logger and contact your lawyer with that information immediately.

11/29/15 @ 18:04
Comment from: Jody [Visitor]

Re: 200 Acre Muskoka Property on SRA

I replied privately to the writer with:

I must emphasize that I am not a legal or accounting expert and I am not conversant with regulations in the municipality in which the property is located. I can give you the insight of my experience and it is not uncommon to find a cottage or rural property that is built outside of the appropriate property lines, particularly on the Shore Road Allowance. Nor is it unusual to find that inheritance of property can be daunting and complicated.

Fabian and I recently represented buyers of an estate cottage and, during the due diligence process of their purchase it came to light that a storage building had been erected on the Shore Road Allowance, about 40 years prior. The municipality could find no permit for the structure and demanded that it be removed. While the lawyers for both parties said that, although it would take some time, they could fight this demand on the basis of “grandfathering", however, neither party was interested in delaying the closing- so the structure was removed prior to completion of the transaction.

Your situation is complicated by the fact that it is a residence and not simply a storage shed.

Here are my thoughts:

1/ I strongly recommend that you speak to your lawyer, an accountant and a qualified mortgage specialist before making any decisions. In many cases, this type of encroachment can be satisfied by applying for a “minor variance". You need to verify all of the tax implications.

2/ Keep in mind that little concern was given to the proximity of a dwelling to a waterway 100 years ago because most didn’t have indoor plumbing, however, over the years most of these properties have been retrofitted to include toilets. Some of these properties obtained appropriate permits but some did not. The quality and location of septic tanks and beds varied, depending on the rules in force at the time of installation and whether or not the property owner followed code. This is believed to have had an adverse affect on water quality and many localities have been inspecting systems and demanding improvements. I mention this because it could be a stumbling block.

3/ The property has a story and its history may exempt it from some regulations but this would require investigation with the relevant authorities.

I hope this is of some help to you.

11/29/15 @ 18:11
Comment from: James [Visitor]

I recently inherited about 200 acres of property in an unorganized township in Northern Ontario. The property is landlocked. On one side it borders crown land, and an old logging road is about 200 meters away from the property. Is it possible to put a trail or road over the crown land to link up with the old lagging road?

James: I would urge you not to do anything on the crown land without express permission. Visit your local municipal authorities and the Ministry of Natural Resources… you need permission to cut down trees and clear any path… doing so without permission can get you into serious hot water. Jody

12/28/15 @ 22:54
Comment from: Anthony [Visitor]

I bought a 50 year old cottage which was built beside the property line. I can’t walk on the one side of the cottage without being on my neighbour’s property. Do I have any squatters rights which would allow me to plant some trees on his side of the line for more privacy.

Tony: I don’t think that “squatters rights” apply here. You’d be best to approach your neighbour and ask permission to plant.

02/03/16 @ 14:03
Comment from: carol barrell [Visitor]
carol barrell

hi i have 85 acers of land in northern ontario left to me be my dad , original homestead says mineral rights included . Whay exactly does this mean

Hi Carol,

In Canada, surface rights and mineral rights came with the purchase of land until sometime in the early 1900s, depending on the area. About 90% of the mineral rights on Canada’s land is owned by the government. The government will lease mineral rights to individuals or companies and in some provinces there are specific conditions upon the renewal of mining leases (for example, the property must be the site of an active mine).

Under the Mining Act, licensed prospectors may enter a private property that is deemed “open” for mining claim staking. There is no notification required. Once a claim is staked, and before a mining claim holder performs any work, they must provide 1 days written notice. (I’ve heard that sticking a note in the door is sufficient). If the mining exploration causes damages, the mineral rights holder is to compensate the surface rights holder.

Basically what this means is that in your situation, your property still retains the mineral rights from way back when and nobody can stake a mining claim and explore for minerals without your agreement. Where mineral rights are privately owned, they can be sold independently of surface rights, so that surface and mineral rights on the same property can be held by different owners.

02/09/16 @ 05:14
Comment from: Scott [Visitor]

If a realtor describes a shoreline as “sandy and rocky” when the shoreline isn’t visible (ie during winter months), and the shoreline turns out to be weedy and mushy after it’s thawed, is there any recourse regarding a misrepresentation?

Hi Scott:

You asked: If a realtor describes a shoreline as “sandy and rocky” when the shoreline isn’t visible (ie during winter months), and the shoreline turns out to be weedy and mushy after it’s thawed, is there any recourse regarding a misrepresentation?

During the winter, it is impossible to know what a shoreline is like and people often rely upon information given by the Sellers. A Realtor who has been practicing for a many years gets to know the shorelines, fairly well. In cases where we are uncertain, Fabian and I have been known to auger a hole and stir up the bottom with a stick… while this isn’t 100%, it does help.

In your situation, you may have some recourse… but it is a matter for your lawyer. If you have anything in writing, for instance the original listing for the property or a copy of a newspaper ad that indicates a sandy/rocky shoreline that would help and it would be something that your lawyer would likely want to have a look at.

03/09/16 @ 07:59
Comment from: Sue [Visitor]

Do you know if you can sell deeded access on your property to another individual so they can access their land (through your property) which is land locked

Hey There….
As far as we know, there is nothing to stop you from selling a deeded access across your property to an adjacent property owner… just remember, you will want to situate the access in such as way as to do as little to your own property as it is seen as a negative attribute when and if you go to sell your property. You should consult a lawyer and check the lawyer will check to make sure you can do it and also, protect your interest. Often, if the other owner has approached you, they will pay your legal fees, as well. Hope that helps!

03/10/16 @ 14:55
Comment from: Trevor [Visitor]

My wife and I are just finishing up on purchasing 142.5 acres of unorganized property in northern Ontario along Highway 65 which has a house and a couple out buildings. We were under the understanding that we would be able to sever some property as our land borders a side road which has 3 lots already there. The previous owner said she had looked into it around 5+ years ago and told us it could be done and a round about cost. We have contacted the municipal office and are told we cannot severe any land as they do not want any more permanent dwellings being raised. We were told they will not approve a land severance based on that. Is there anyone we can contact for assistance besides going to the local municipal office, we do not have plans for the area between the two properties there and could benefit from the sale. Any advice or contacts would appreciated.


Hi Trevor:

I received your comment on my blog, this morning and I am sorry that you have encountered issues with your recent real estate transaction. I am not an expert in these matters by any means, however, your situation is a reminder that prospective Buyers need to talk to the local municipal authorities before they purchase property that they intend to make changes to.

I suggest that your next move would be to contact the “Ontario Municipal Board” also known as the “OMB", through which you can file an appeal of the local municipal decision. You can find information about the OMB online.


This can be a time consuming process and you are not guaranteed a favourable decision.

You didn’t mention whether you purchased the property privately or through a Realtor and I have no idea how you drew up your Agreement of Purchase and Sale or what sort of clauses were included, so it is difficult to guess what other recourse you might have if the appeal fails. It does sound like you relied upon information provided by the Seller to make the decision to purchase and the information given has proven to be wrong. I would suggest that you contact your lawyer for an expert opinion. This also can be a time consuming endeavour, which will probably have costs associated, and you still may not resolve the matter favourably………..

I hope this information is of some help to you.

04/09/16 @ 00:44
Comment from: adrian [Visitor]  

I bought some land in northern ontario, it is 60 acres on paper, but there is half of a lake within the property lines, approx 40 acres of lake, so only 20 acres land. My understanding is that I obviously dont own the lake, or part of it, or do I?. but im taxed on 60 acres, and 3000 ft of waterfront. Does anyone know how that all works?

Adrian: You should look into filing a tax appeal. Talk to you the local municipal authorities.

05/13/16 @ 16:10
Comment from: Jean [Visitor]  

We have someone leaving a small tin boat on our shoreline/land. I have checked with the county and it is our property. I have left a note in the boat for them to remove it. If they don’t, can I have it removed like a car would be if it was parked on private property? Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on the process.

Hi Jean,

I would check with the local authorities. People can’t just leave their belongings on someone else’s property.

05/25/16 @ 09:43
Comment from: iris [Visitor]

Keep in mind that if one was to try to take over land under old “squatting” laws that were nullified in the 50’s, the court would look at who is paying the taxes on the property and not just the deeds. If someone is squatting and the rightful owner is paying the taxes and say, for example, the squatter is allowed to continue, then the court would rule that the squatter would have to pay all the taxes back to when the squatting started. Squatters squatting on Crown Land (ions ago) had to register the land and pay for the fees attached with registering and the taxes. One aboriginal prepaid the taxes for almost 100 years even though the law said that it did not have to be paid. Anyone squatting on this said property will have to reimburse the person paying the taxes. The person paying the taxes and electrical bills is the rightful owner. On aboriginal reserves the FIRSTBORN WAS THE RIGHTFUL OWNER ALLOWING KIN TO LIVE WITHIN THE PROPERTY AND GUIDELINES. Thus, non aboriginals marrying into and divorcing an aboriginal can NOT claim neither squatter rights nor property as it did never belonged to the cousin of a cousin of a cousin. It also would fall under co-op rules only if co-op rules were first established.

06/05/16 @ 11:01
Comment from: Malcolm [Visitor]  

Are seasonal house boats permitted at the waterfront on a private property without municipal approval?

Hi Malcolm,

You should check with the local municipality to find out their regulations.


06/25/16 @ 15:27
Comment from: Ron [Visitor]

Hi Jodi,

I own a 4 acre piece of land on the Muskoka river. Flooding rights have been deeded to the electrical authority ( along time ago) which cover about 1.5 acres of my land. This is good as it makes a quite nice “private” bay on my property. The problem is that the local municipality thinks that the flooded land is no longer my property. Question: does the granting of flooding rights still leave me with the right to the land under the flooded areas, and does the Navigable waters act apply to the flooded land as is was not navigable (no water present) when the land was originally granted by the crown.

Hi Ron,

I’m sorry to take so long responding to you. This one has me stymied… I think you need a lawyer’s opinion on this matter.

Best of luck,


07/08/16 @ 17:57
Comment from: KD [Visitor]  

We own a waterfront property beside a deeded access park for all residents. There are community docks there that are rented annually with assigned spaces for the season. The deeded access area is also one of the parks in our neighbourhood where the community events take place. We pay an annual association fee that states that part of the fee goes into the maintenance of the parks, docks etc. The deeded access is in a bay and the lake weeds collect over the season and start backing up into our shoreline space. We do our best to remove all that is in front of our space and part of what is beside us, but never see any signs that any have been removed for the deeded shoreline. My question is - legally does the association have the obligation to maintain the shoreline as well? They post notes asking people to volunteer but… they pay for someone to cut the grass and have a porta potty seasonally etc…Is there any action that we could take to try to get them to deal with this? Is the board of directors obligated to do this? There is also someone that is assigned parks and docks on the board. It seems that our requests are not being heard.

Hi Kym,

Unfortunately, your question is not easily answered. It is complicated by a number of factors. First off, I’m not familiar with your association. I’d suggest that you look into the association to see how they are set up. Many of these associations are very loosely set up, but they should have by-laws and regulations which would clarify their responsibilities.

I am trying to understand your concerns about the weeds. To the best of my knowledge and belief, you are not supposed to alter the shoreline or perform any work in a waterway without the permission of the relevant authorities- such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the local Conservation Authorities.

I hope this is of some help to you.

07/26/16 @ 15:11
Comment from: Sarah [Visitor]

I own property with a beautiful sandy shoreline. Boaters have found my location and on any day up to 15 can be found in front of my lot.
They bring tubes, seados and all their toys. They set up lawn chairs in the water in front of my lot - not on the shore. They eat, drink, …. for up to 6 hours - there is no washroom available???
I cannot get out to swim without trying to find a space; people cannot get in to my shore to visit (if coming by boat).
What can I do?

Hi Sarah:

Let me start by saying that I’m not an expert on these matters and always suggest that you approach the appropriate authorities- such as a lawyer, the municipality, the Ministry of Natural Resource, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries- perhaps even the OPP. If the OPP are on that waterway, they could make stops to check on these folks because it does sound like a bit of a party.

Is your property obviously privately owned? I have heard of cases where word-of-mouth spreads and people mistakenly believe that they are hanging around near crown land or publically owned property. This happens a lot when there are “diving rocks". If you haven’t got signs posted saying “Private Property” you may want to put some up.

I have heard of people getting watch dogs to patrol their shoreline. They bark constantly at people in the water and are such an annoyance that they shift away. Other people have played loud, annoying music to achieve the same affect. Some have created a system that loops the same song, continuously. I had someone suggest that you post “Unsafe Beach” signs, “Warning: Leeches", “Warning: unsafe levels of bacteria” or “Biker Clubhouse” signs. I am not certain that any of these suggestions are 100% legal, which is why I would suggest that you seek expert advice from the appropriate authorities.

I hope this information is of some help.


07/30/16 @ 21:25
Comment from: Anonymous [Visitor]  

I bought a cottage in french river in 2011 and the shoreline has been getting overgrown by weeds. It is extremely silty to the point that you sink to your knees in minutes. Can I do anything to clean it up or is altering all shorelines illegal?

Hi there…. you had best contact the municipality, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries to ask their advice on this matter.

08/03/16 @ 00:06
Comment from: Angela [Visitor]  

Hi! We own over 2000 feet of frontage on a small lake . Our property consists of over 4 acres and has a deeded access at the back that follows the full length of our property. Do we require OMB approval to severe into two lots or is this solely at the discretion of our Municiple government? Thanks

Hi Angela,

You have to have the approvals… it sounds like your property may be wide and narrow which may be an issue to ensure set backs for septic systems, etc. You should start the process with the municipal authorities. It is not a speedy process.


08/28/16 @ 20:24
Comment from: Jody [Member]  

We live on a road, partially deeded. There are seven of us year round, 6 who are seasonal. Trying to keep this road maintained so it is accessable to emergency vehicles, year round, is quite an endeavor. The owner of the road needs to be contacted each time we want maintenance work done, he does not feel he needs to contribute toward this and insists on being contacted when road work needs done. All the individuals who live here have lots of company, and since we live on a lake, you never know when an emergency may occur.
My question is, who is legally responsible for keeping the road up to emergency standards?
J Cashman

This is a tricky but common issue and it is difficult to answer, especially without seeing how the road is “partially deeded". Unfortunately, most of these private roads weren’t designed for year round use. Un-assumed roads often get most abuse October/November and then in March/April & early May. These are times when seasonal residents are less likely to be visiting their property, so the year round residents are generally the ones who have to handle maintenance.

Many residents on roads like yours have attempted to get their roads assumed by the township but the cost to bring the road up to standard is prohibitive.

I’m not sure if you have a “road committee” organized. This is something that I would highly recommend. This way you could set up maintenance plans and monitor costs. I don’t believe that you could force the seasonal people to pay, but if you are reasonable you might get them to pitch in a fraction of the costs for maintenance.

I’m not sure why the “owner” of the road needs to be notified if there is work, except that it may be due to liability issues. A committee could set up parameters with the road owner so that minor work might be conducted without the rigmarole of having to conduct the owner, leaving formal permissions for something more intensive like tree removal etc.

I hope this information is of help to you.


09/13/16 @ 10:19
Comment from: Rob [Visitor]  

We are considering purchasing a cottage in Haliburton area (Dysart et al) which is built very close to the water on SRA that is not owned. Could the municipality demand that this cottage be removed? (It was probably built in the 50’s or 60’s) If I purchased the SRA, what implications would this have? The setback is probably only 20-30 ft from the water and there is a road behind the cottage with the bulk of the land being behind the road.

09/26/16 @ 11:25
Comment from: Jody [Visitor]  

Hi Rob,

In answer to your question about a cottage built close to the un-owned shore allowance. This is quite a common occurrence, especially with cottages built in 50s & 60s. Some people feel more comfortable when they own the shore allowance, however, it isn’t really necessary because you have the right to use and enjoy it, regardless. In many cases, the shore allowance pertains to a high water mark which often means the shore allowance is somewhere out in front, under water now.

Most municipalities “grandfather” older builds and do not disrupt the location of the cottages, even when minimum set backs have changed. If this occurs, you may not be permitted to add onto the existing cottage or tear it down and rebuild… you would likely have to work with the existing footprint.

I hope this answer is of some help.

09/26/16 @ 13:13
Comment from: Jen [Visitor]

I own a lot in Stouffville that is landlocked but it has a road provision. What should I do to have the road opened to access my land for future building?

Thank you in advance.

Hi Jen,

I think you are talking about an unopened road allowance. You would have to speak to the local municipality about that.

10/03/16 @ 10:20
Comment from: Jamie [Visitor]  

Hi, was hoping if you could answer a few questions on timber rights. I’d like to buy vacant land for a camp/cabin. If timber rights are reserved…
-should I find out who has the rights reserved?
-can they harvest without my consent?
-is being reserved by the crown better for me than if by someone else?
-am I allowed to cut trees to clear a campsite or driveway?
I plan on buying in an unincorporated township if that matters.
thank you

Hi There:

A lawyer and the MNR will help you find out who has the timber rights. They will also guide you to understand the specifics- for instance sometimes the crown has reserved just the pines. If any of the timber rights are owned by the crown you will need the MNR’s permission to harvest trees. If the timber rights aren’t included with your purchase, the right’s holder can come and cut. It really is of no consequence that the township is unincorporated because timber rights are not overseen at the municipal level.

I would suggest you visit the MNR and inquire about the property, it’s also important to have your lawyer conduct a search to find out what rights are included. Remember it’s not just timber rights that can be an issue… there are mineral and mining rights, among others, that can also be an inconvenience.


10/17/16 @ 22:42
Comment from: Rob [Visitor]

Jody, we just purchased a parcel of land that has a small river running through it. I would like to build a small bridge over the river. Am I able to do this so long as I do not disturb the flow of the river? Do I need riprarian rights to do this?

Hi Rob,

There can be many variables here… quite often you are permitted, as long as you don’t mess with the river bottom or the flow. A quick call to the building inspector at the local township will help you discern local regulations.


10/28/16 @ 10:52
Comment from: Nicky [Visitor]

We own a property on an inland lake in Northern Ontario. According to a very old survey done in the 50’s and the MPAC maps it looks like we are the only ones on our side of the lake that doesn’t own to the shore. Our house (previously a cottage) was built in the early 70’s and is only set back about 30 feet from the shore. Since we apparently don’t own right to the water do we still have to pay waterfront property taxes like our waterfront owning neighbours?? Just curious.

Hi Nicky:
Un-owned or Un-opened shorelines are very common. Some people feel better if they purchase the shore allowance, but that is a matter of personal preference.

Shore allowances were created from the high water mark. In some areas, the shore allowance is now underwater. 30′ is pretty close to the shore, even for the 70’s- which makes me wonder if this is the case on your lake. So you might own right to the water… without getting a survey done, you won’t really know. Your home/cottage may or may not encroach on the shore-allowance. If it does, most people considered it compliant, being “grandfathered-in".

Shore allowances don’t change the fact that your property is waterfront. While you don’t actually own it, it isn’t large enough for anyone to build anything on… so it is yours to enjoy and to maintain.

Shore allowances were created to allow mariners, in trouble, to land. This seldom occurs on inland lakes and is, therefore, nothing to worry about.

I hope this is of some help.


11/13/16 @ 16:08
Comment from: Robert [Visitor]

Jody, I am wondering about a situation where you have a large acreage property and own the timber rights only but not the mineral rights. I was told that owning the timber rights on the property, when the mineral rights are reserved, is a very large plus for the property owner in the event a Mining Company, Prospector or other individual own the mineral rights and want to go on the property and do exploration work. Can you share your thoughts on this situation? Thanks

12/05/16 @ 20:44
Comment from: jackie [Visitor]  

Some years ago, my husband was given 50 acres of property, by his father. He found out later that the land is landlocked. This land is adjacent to Crown land, would we be able to gain access to our property with a right of way through this crown property? If not do you have any suggestions, how we would go about building a road and gaining access. Thanks.

01/21/17 @ 16:50
Comment from: Jody [Member]  

I received this message by email March 12, 2017:

Hi Jody,

Has there been any other precedents in Ontario where the government, automatically merged two 100′ waterfront lots (same owner) to one 200′ lot? I would like to begin the process to restore them back to the original 100′ lots and solve a zoning issue that now has two residences on a single lot. I am assuming there will be many roadblocks and am sure many others have had this happen to their properties. Hoping to find some success stories. Rob

My response:

Hi Rob,

It is very common for adjacent vacant properties to merge… but I can’t remember ever hearing about this happening with two pieces that have both been built upon. With limited information I would only be speculating as to what happened here, but I sense there has been some sort of mix up.

I’d love to have the county in which the properties are located and the PIN numbers from the tax bills or addresses, so that I could look them up in the system to see how they’re zoned.

You mention that you would like to “begin” the process to restore their separateness… I would start with approaching the municipality for an explanation.

I’d be pleased if you would keep me in the loop with your progress and I’ll help in any way that I can.


03/12/17 @ 15:23
Comment from: Joan [Visitor]

We have a few family members who collectively own an island in northern Ontario. It is accessed by boat, however can be accessed down the Escarpment and over a foot bridge. Some of the family members want to purchase the shore allowance, some don’t. What would be the main reason for wanting to have it? Would our taxes go up? Would the value of the cottage/land go up for the cost of the shoreline? It is not winter access, no running water, septic etc. Is this really worth it?

Hi Joan,

The main reason people want to have the shore allowance is because some people just feel better owning it. You would have to check with your local municipal authorities to determine if the taxes would go up after it was purchased.

Shore allowance is something that only an experienced waterfront owner or buyer generally thinks about. It is something we frequently have to explain to prospective buyers and it is something that should be noted in MLS listing data entry. In my experience, shore allowances are very common and have little, if any influence on market value.

The shoreline road allowance was created on most waterfront properties in Ontario after 1850 to allow public access to the shore from navigable waterways- for emergency purposes. It was created at a time when there weren’t proper roads in most of cottage country and the waterways were a major form of travel.

Savvy waterfront buyers might ask- “is the shore allowance owned?” and it’s always nicer to be able to answer yes… so some might argue it helps the property to be more saleable.

What is interesting, is the shore allowances are attached to the high water mark and often we run into situations where the lakes have increased in volume and the shore allowance is currently out in the lake… in other cases, cottages or other structures were built right on the shore allowance, before there were regulations about set backs.

The bottom line is that the shoreline is yours to use, as you will, as owner of the adjacent property. You would likely have to prove you own the shoreline before applying for a minor variance to be able to apply for a permit for the construction of a structure that would be located on the 66′ shore road allowance- AND you would have to abide by the strict guidelines set out by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Your municipality may have particular regulations, as well. Generally, docks are permitted, provided they do not interfere with the fish habitat.

When you ask if it’s really worth it- it comes down to your personal opinion.

I hope this is of some help,


04/19/17 @ 16:04
Comment from: Arlene [Visitor]

We purchased a house in the Kawarthas which is not on the water. Homeowners pay a fee to have the private/unassumed circular road plowed/maintained. There is a common area in the centre and a common launch access point to Buckhorn Lake. The houses that aren’t on the water each have a deeded 15′ strip of waterfront (some have docks). The question is, can we put a structure on our 15′ waterfront? (I’m talking a gazebo, maybe a deck at the edge of the water). I’ve been told “probably not” but I don’t know why. Also, owners park in the centre when they feel like it. The cottages on each side of the launch access have taken over a lot of the supposed common area. There doesn’t seem to be a corporation or committee that creates or polices, i.e. who created the rules?

Hi Arlene,

There are situations where a developer has surveyed several lots that share waterfront lot. In some cases this waterfront lot is communally owned and in other cases, is surveyed into pieces that are registered along with the deeds to the main properties. Without seeing your deed, it would be hard to know which is the case. Either way, it is most unlikely that a permanent structure would be permitted close to a lake or river. You should check with the municipality to see if they have regulations, the Ministry of Natural Resources may have some, as well. If the 15′ strips are part of your deed, there may not need be a committee that regulates anything, it would fall under government regulation (municipality, oceans & fisheries, Ministry of Natural Resources, etc.).

You haven’t mentioned if your portion of the road is on your deed or a separate piece over which you have a right-of-way. If that is the case, it might be a separate piece that never got registered or it could be registered to a private owner. We have seen older developments where the road has not been built up to municipal standards and will never be assumed. In these cases, private road maintenance is often casually handled by one of the residents- and can become an issue if major improvements are ever required. I would be surprised if your Realtor, and/or lawyer, didn’t mention this when you purchased. If the road isn’t part of your deed, check with the municipality to find out who owns it.

Once you know who owns both of these commonly used pieces you can begin to research any organized community group that might have formalized regulations with regard to their usage. I hope this is of help.

Good luck!


05/03/17 @ 15:20
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]  

I own a property on a dead end road. My house is the second last house on the road, and technically the “road” where my driveway exits is on my neighbours property. He technically owns the small area right in front and it looks more like a road than his driveway, as his driveway exits onto it as well. The road is dirt, and barely wide enough for 2 cars to get by, but because we are the only traffic it was never an issue. Lately though he has taken to parking at the end of my driveway, leaving us only room to squeeze our vehicles out, and it is a squeeze. My wife has on several occasions had to ask him to move so that she could get in or out, which is frustrating when she has a 3 year old in the back, and she has to leave her in the car to find our neighbour to have his car moved. We strongly feel that he is doing this because we no longer get along. While it is technically his property, it is a right of way as well because there is no other way for us to get to our house. The house is in Simcoe County in Ontario. Thank you

Hi Kevin… You haven’t said how long you’ve owned the property and been using the road… which may make a difference. It sounds like your driveway is encroaching on the neighbour’s property… did you purchase title insurance when you bought? Is there anything on the deed that speaks to a right-of-way? It also sounds like you may be on a private road… do you know who owns the road?
All of this said, Fabian and I feel that you are best to have a chat with a lawyer and get some expert advice.


05/08/17 @ 18:45
Comment from: Terry [Visitor]  

I own a waterfront property on Georgian Bay. The deed (and that of my neighbours) extends to the “High Water Mark 1938″ and show approx. 50′ shoreline/waterfront for my property. Since that time, the water level has dropped considerably exposing approx. 50 Meters of new beach. Since the sides of my property are not parallel and converge toward the bay such that if extended towards the bay and into the new beach, my side property boundaries would meet each other (producing a pie shaped lot) even before the new waterfront or shoreline. Does this mean I no longer have waterfront footage? Does it all belong to my neighbours to the left and right of me and not to me? Do I have any rights to the shoreline?

Hi Terry,

We can’t see that you can be prevented from using the shoreline/waterfront…

but this is an interesting question. Has anyone tried to prevent you from using

the shoreline? How long have you owned it? What does the municipality say?

This is likely something best answered by a legal expert. We’d love to hear

what you discover!


05/16/17 @ 01:54
Comment from: Michael Baril [Visitor]
Michael Baril

My Wife and i purchased a lot with a 40ft. wide deeded right of way to the St. Lawrence river. In 2003 we got permission from the owner to construct a dock where we could tie up our boat and swim from and i agreed to maintain the property. Last year the owner of the right of way changed hands. The new owner was told by the previous owner that they had given us permission to build the dock. The new owner says that he owns the dock and wants us to sign a agreement with restrictions to us the dock. Do we have any rights as we have used and maintained the land for 20 years and had the dock for 15

Hi Michael,

In our minds the key here is deeded right of way. It doesn’t sound like the new owner can ask you to sign any new agreements or restrict use of your dock… but I would check this out with your lawyer.


06/04/17 @ 13:10
Comment from: Bob [Visitor]  

I’m looking at purchasing a piece of land where mining and surface rights are included but timber rights are not. Do I need permission to clear a road and area for a cabin and if so from whom and what is the cost?

Hi Bob,

I am assuming that the Crown holds the timber rights… and usually that is only on pine. Check with the Ministry for specific information but, generally, you are permitted to clear an area for a laneway, cabin, septic, etc.


06/13/17 @ 05:59
Comment from: kathy simpson [Visitor]  
kathy simpson

at our cottage we have a deeded right a way to the water across the road. several other cottage owners have the same deeded right a way. the deeded property is about 8 ft wide and goes from road down to lake front. there has been several docks built at the end of this 8′ stretch. the property owner to the right of the 8′ stretch is complaining about the number of docks some of which run in front of his property but are accessed from the ROW edge. no dock is attached to his waterfront property. Does this property owner have the right to make us move our docks and is there a law about how far out into the water a dock can run? When land owner many years ago divided his property into lots all property owners on back side of road were given the same ROW on their deeds. Possibly 12 owners could need dock space in the future. Are there laws on quantity of docks at end of ROW’s. Appreciate any input you may have.


You should check with your local municipality to see if they have regulations about the length of docks and check with the Ministry of Natural Resources, too. It sounds a little crazy and pretty much impossible to have 12 people all wanting their own dock space on an 8′ strip of property. This is not a good situation. I strongly suggest that you twelve need to get organized and get a legal opinion about how best to satisfy all of your individual needs, fairly.


07/03/17 @ 18:04
Comment from: George [Visitor]  

I applied to the local Conservation Authority and received a permit to repair the eroding shoreline The original shoreline slope was approximately at slope of 2:1. The slope length from the bottom toe to the shoreline top is approximately 12.5 feet at the shoreline height of 6 feet. I assume that the shoreline slope is owned by the Crown?
Local Conservation Authority imposed by the issued permit a shallower slope of 4:1 and that means a shoreline slope length of approximately 24 feet. In order to achieve this longer shoreline slope the shoreline top needs to be extended approximately 12 feet into the land. This means I have to give up approximately 12 feet of land along the shoreline.
1. Do Conservation Authority have legal authority to impose such conditions?
Also, I do not have enough existing stone slabs, rocks or boulders to protect the shoreline from wash outs and erosion. The Conservation Authority imposed that a new material is not permitted. My shoreline situation will actually considerably worsen instead of being resolved. There are no advantages to a shallower slope as the shoreline height remains the same and the high-water level reaches the top of the shoreline in any shoreline slope.
2. Is this a confiscation of land? Do I have a right to be compensated?
3. If new material is not allowed to protect the extended shoreline slope and further shoreline erosion occurs, resulting in a loss of property, can I sue the CA for damages?

Hi George,

Conservation Authorities have a lot of clout. You would be best to go and check with the local municipality to ask for their advice.


07/08/17 @ 18:05
Comment from: Janice freund [Visitor]
Janice freund

My new neighbour has built a kayak stand on the road allowance in front of my property. Since I do not own the road allowance, can I ask them to remove it. I fear they (or worse still their renters) will next be using my beach as they do not have one.

Hi Janice,

This is something you should take up with the Township. Perhaps you can purchase the shoreline, for a nominal fee.


07/09/17 @ 19:38
Comment from: kathy [Visitor]  

We bought property about 2 years ago on an all private Lake. There are a lot of trees on the shore line and we would like to remove some of them to gain a better view of the lake from our house. Who do I contact in order to get permission to do this. Do you have to pay to get permits so we can do this. Also the shore line is in very rough shape how can I get permission to fix it.

Hi Kathy,

The Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations put out a great booklet in 2016 with loads of information that will better answer your questions… you can find it online at:


the bottom line is you should contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and consult the Fisheries & Oceans folks… you can check their website at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/index-eng.html for more information.

I hope this is of help.


07/18/17 @ 08:17
Comment from: Gary [Visitor]

HI ..I have two questions 1) WE own property on lake erie which has a 66 foot road allowance in front of it. Back 50 years ago, when the road was still there, there were cottages on the other side of that road that were water front (my place was 1 row back) ..over time those cottages have disappeared, due to erosion, and most of the Road has eroded as well. Basically I now have waterfront. I am in discussions with the municipality to purchase the road section in front of me which allows me to own to the waters edge….there seems to be some confusion however regarding the land that was owned many years ago and is now under water…are those lots still owned by the previous owners from years ago or do they not come into play as they have eroded and are now underwater??…. 2) I Want to purchase this road allowance to install a break wall to stop further erosion..however the town says I cannot do anything as I do not own the land and they won’t take care of it..is this something I can get permission from the MNR to do?

Hi Gary,

Not sure how this is going to play out… they don’t just erase ownership and if the water levels

subside, that owner will still own the property… so you would, in effect be trying to make improvements

to his property, not to mention that the MNR has the last word and Oceans & Fisheries own the water itself.

It’s worth a try contacting the MNR.

Best of luck!


08/16/17 @ 22:06
Comment from: Leon [Visitor]  

Own 3 acres in the Haliburton area and my wife and I have been working on it in preparation for our future retirement home. We bring a travel trailer up to it when we are there and recently we told that I cant have it on my property?? It is not there on a steady basis, plus, the property is very rural. What are my rights?

Hi Leon,

Every township has different by-laws & regulations and many don’t permit trailers. You need to ask the township what their rules will allow and how you can work with them in order to meet their regulations. Some townships will allow a trailer that is on a permanent foundation… some require you obtain a minor variance to obtain a permit for the trailer… some won’t entertain a trailer at all. My advice is to go talk to the planning person at the local township… try to remain calm and ask them if there is any way for you to gain permission to use the property in the way you wish to use it.


08/19/17 @ 17:39
Comment from: Leon [Visitor]  

Own 3 acres in the Haliburton area and my wife and I have been working on it in preparation for our future retirement home. We bring a travel trailer up to it when we are there and recently we told that I cant have it on my property?? It is not there on a steady basis, plus, the property is very rural. What are my rights?

08/19/17 @ 17:39
Comment from: George [Visitor]  

Need to put a dock in on deeded ROW , who exactly owns the shore line of the road leading the the water, i don’t think the land owners can own the shore line of deeded access in the municipality of whitestone ont , how and where do i go to if the land owners deny a small 4x12 docking for safe entrance and exiting the lake, should i contact a lawyer ?


I would suggest that you start by asking the local municipal authorities.


08/31/17 @ 17:31
Comment from: Lisa [Visitor]  

I own Cottage property in Muskoka with 500 ft Shoreline. I do not own the shore allowance. There are two small Cottages from the fifties and an approved permit from the municipality in 2006 (before I owned it) for a new septic system Showing Service to both buildings. I hired a contractor to spruce up the second Cottage and unfortunately because I was absent he enlarged it without my permission and without a permit. Sad story is after I paid him he threatened to tell the municipality about this supposedly illegal building if I didn’t pay him more money. I didn’t and indeed the town issued a stop-work order. I have been working with them and they have been fair so far. They advised I must cut the building back but I have no idea the exact dimensions previously or that I must purchase the shore line since this building is partially or entirely on the shore allowance. Are these not two separate issues? There is plenty of land without the shore allowance to adhere to muskokas rules about building coverage to land ratio and I’m sure it’s not a legal term but were these two buildings not grandfathered in? The shoreline will probably be in excess of $40,000, I was prepared to do it but have since Been Told that the legalization of this slightly expanded building has nothing to do with being coerced into buying the shoreline?
Not sure if it adds to the equation or not but I happen to own the cottage next door as well and do own the osra there. Someone has commented that they can’t reopen the shore allowance because they’d have to hop scotch over my adjacent property

Hi Lisa,

First off, let me emphasize that I’m not a lawyer or an expert, and I strongly suggest you find a good one, for advice.

It is difficult for me to address the issue of the expansion because I don’t have information on the contractual arrangements with the person who did the work… but you do call this person/company a “contractor", so I assume they have credentials. It may be difficult to prove that the cottage was expanded without your knowledge and, even then, it likely doesn’t make it acceptable according to the municipality. Grandfathering usually only applies to the footprint of an existing building. The contract might be interesting in as far as determining the contractor’s responsibilities.

Certainly, the way you describe it, it sounds like this contractor is guilty of extortion, which is an offence under federal law- making it a police matter.

Getting back to the issue of having a cottage that now encroaches onto the shore road allowance, you could ask the municipality about obtaining a minor variance… they don’t have to allow it, because it is a process that should have been undertaken prior to construction. It seems to be more often permitted if the completed construction is in line with other cottages, as far as set backs. If they do allow it, you would have to pay for the appropriate permits that should have been in place prior to construction and there would be fees for the variance. It is a process and you need to make sure that you are dealing with someone knowledgeable about building/planning at the township- someone who can explain the various options for remedy.

Which brings me back around to advising you to get the advice of a good real estate lawyer, as well.



09/12/17 @ 00:39
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]

Has anyone had an experience of paying exorbitant amount to buy into a cottage road association? Are there any guidelines to how much should be charged after more than 15 years since the road has been put in. Happy to pay fair amount in cost to maintain etc but the amount they want to buy in is ridiculous and they don’t use the funds for the road they split it among the cottagers.

09/21/17 @ 10:49
Comment from: Andrew [Visitor]  

We are looking to buy property in Eldorado. We are told we have surface rights only. It is 23 acres and told it has 2 mines on the property. Does this affect me putting a basement on my house when i build? What about drilling to put in a well? From reading some previous comments it looks like i have to check out timber rights as well. It’s the first property i am buying as a new family and after hearing some of these issues my wife isn’t too sure of buying anymore. Is there anything else to find out before going any further? Thank you in advance…

Hey Andrew… Eldorado has quite a mining history, so I’m not surprised there could be 2 old mine sites on 23 acres… there are some concerns about water quality, especially in the Deloro area… https://www.ontario.ca/page/deloro-mine-cleanup-project . Before you make an offer, you should check with the local municipality about the possibility of putting in a basement… you may also want to chat with the Ministry of the Environment and also the mining authorities. If you make an offer, you should put a clause into it that gives you some time to get your lawyer’s advice, too. Mineral rights, surface rights and mining rights are all different and you will want to know all about what has happened historically with the property you are interested in buying. You might find it interesting to talk to Kim, the owner of the “Eldorado Experience” http://www.eldoradoexperience.ca I hope this is of some help. Jody

11/19/17 @ 12:44
Comment from: Cindy [Visitor]


We own a house adjacent to a municipal right of way. (60 ft) A tree has fallen down that was located on the right of way and has damaged trees on our property and caused what I believe extensive cleanup. In addition, there are trees on the right away that need to be taken down. Who is responsible for this?

Hi Cindy,

I should think the municipality. Have you called them?


11/20/17 @ 12:48
Comment from: Fast Willy [Visitor]  
Fast Willy

Hi Jody,
Thanks for answering all of these questions, I have learned quite a bit. Hopefully you are still around.

I purchased 50 acres in haliburton, it is landlocked with an existing trapper trail as access across crown land. This trail was documented in an email from the seller at time of purchase (over 5 yrs ago). Can I widen the trail to accomodate ATV’s.


Hey Willy… Don’t do a thing without the Crown’s permission… in writing. Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources.


03/15/18 @ 06:00
Comment from: Sean [Visitor]

Does anyone know how many people need to live on a rural road before the government considers maintaining it. Northern Ontario 5 families live here. Thanks Where can I find this information?

Sean: It’s often more about the quality and construction of the road. You would have to check with the local authorities.

03/28/18 @ 06:16
Comment from: Robin Anderson [Visitor]  
Robin Anderson

Hi! I own 4.2 acres on a small lake. I would like to subdivide. Are there any restrictions in the current version of the P.P.S that would restrict this?…or is this t the local Planning Boards Discretion?

Hi Robin, you would be wise to begin with the local municipality to see what their regulations are. Jody

04/07/18 @ 10:39