Riparian Rights

If you are considering purchasing a lakefront home, or any property that has water frontage of any kind, you should be aware of riparian rights. Three separate governmental authorities have an interest in the water that will be adjacent to your property, and the ensuing decisions and regulation may have an effect on you, your ownership rights and your future use of the land. 

In addition to the management of water resources mandated by federal, provincial and municipal authorities, there are a number of private agencies that have a concern about water use, water quality, regulation of water supplies and quality of public water. It's complicated, to say the least. 

Suffice it to say that if you have or want to own any kind of waterfront property, your "ownership" of that water that is adjacent to the land you hold title to will in some way most likely be governed by the riparian rights that derive from British common law regarding use of water. "Ownership" of the water, because it is deemed to exist for the "common good," is a concept grounded in law and governed by statute. 

On a daily basis, none of it will likely have an effect on your life. But, if you consider improvements to your property that would affect the natural shoreline or alter the flow of water, impede its use by other residents, or restrict its natural course, you may find yourself facing legal proceedings. 

The best course of action is to consult someone who can explain the statutes and the restrictions to you prior to signing a contract for land abutting a lake, river, stream or other flowing water. Be certain of your rights and the restrictions in place. 

Realtors can answer basic questions about waterfront property, and municipalities will be happy to summarize the statutes and what they mean for you. In Ontario, a basic understanding of riparian rights is important as you consider looking at properties that might be affected. 

There is no disputing the beauty of a water view; nor the peace that you feel near the water. You just don't want to be caught with a flood of questions or face a deluge of unexpected regulations after you acquire a special property.

Riparian Rights are very important when considering Lake Front Cottage for Sale in Muskoka and all waterfront homes in Ontario.