You’ve Found the Ideal Waterfront Property, But Is the Shoreline Included?


According to recent figures, Ontario is experiencing a record-high demand for rural properties. This could be largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased people’s ability to work remotely and increased their desire to live outside of major cities. Don’t forget to do your homework if you have found the ideal cottage or lakefront property and are anxious to make an offer before someone else does. Because rural properties are frequently not listed on plans of subdivision, it may be necessary to conduct additional research to pinpoint the exact position of their boundaries. Whether the property truly includes the shoreline is something to consider when purchasing real estate near the majority of lakes and rivers in Ontario.

Why Is It Important?

If your property does feature a shoreline, you will have a set of rights known as “riparian rights”, which include the ability to access the water and enjoy the water’s undisturbed natural flow. These rights are enforceable in court against all other people and governmental bodies.

Doesn’t All Waterfront Property Include the Shoreline?

The quick response is no. The history of the land would need to be looked at to ascertain whether or not it includes the shoreline. This can entail going over the original crown patent’s description of the asset. Shoreline reserves, sometimes known as “shoreline road allowances,” are 66-foot wide reserves that stay with either the provincial crown in unincorporated areas or with the municipality in the incorporated territory along many lakes and rivers in Ontario.

Can a Shoreline Road Allowance Be a Problem?

You do not own the shoreline if there is a shoreline road allowance separating your property from the water. As a result, you are denied the riparian rights that come with owning a property that is actually “waterfront”. Structures on the property, such as decks, docks, boathouses, or even the cottage itself, might have been constructed on land that you do not own, which could be a bigger problem. Any such buildings may be subject to removal requests.

What is the Workaround?

You could propose to buy the shoreline road allowance that abuts your property. An offer to buy a shoreline road allowance in an unincorporated area must be made directly to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources under the Public Lands Act, RSO 1990 c P.43. The offer is made to a municipality in an incorporated territory, and the precise procedure varies slightly depending on the municipality. Before the closure of a shoreline road allowance, the owners of nearby properties are frequently informed and given the chance to oppose. As a result, the procedure can be drawn out, and it is crucial to establish whether a property is impacted by shoreline road allowance before submitting an offer to buy it. You might also want to think about putting a shoreline road allowance condition or warranty in your agreement of purchase and sale. For more information about searching for a home please read this article entitled 5 Tips When Searching for Your New Home.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you found it helpful. As you can see, it is imperative to work with a real estate professional that is experienced in buying and selling rural and waterfront property if you are interested in purchasing this type of property. If you have any questions about other important considerations when purchasing rural property, feel free to get in touch.

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Michelle Stevens


RE/MAX Hallmark Chay Realty Inc. Brokerage


Email: michelle@jewelhouserealestate.com

Phone: 705-970-6137