Your enjoyment of your property or home may be tied up by an easement or restrictive covenant.
Before you take title to Ontario real estate, find out who owns the ground you walk or build on and what you can legally do with it.
Axess Law searches the title to your property when we close real estate transactions. We tell you how an easement or restrictive covenant affects your ownership rights.
Transferring title to Ontario property.
What are Easements?
Municipal right of ways, hydro, gas or telephone lines — even a walking path — can be attached to Ontario property you buy. Easements give rights to others to use your property, with or without your consent.
Buying rural property in Ontario.
Legally speaking, your land parcel is the ‘servient’ tenement. Rights of use are called ‘dominant’ tenement. They can be structured as:
Rights of Way
Allow municipalities to dig on your property to construct or repair public utilities. Your title excludes the right to build on or disrupt rights of way, leaving you no choice but to consent to any work municipalities undertake on it.
Like it or not, your building permit request for a pool, garage or backyard office will be denied if it encroaches on a municipal right of way.
Buying your first home – what to expect.
Give neighbours property rights to, for example, a shared driveway. Rowhouse owners may be able to cross common areas to mow the lawn or walk to a kids’ playground.
Land you think is yours may actually be shared with others. Everything from fencing the backyard to how neighbours get mail or set out garbage could be controlled by a legal maintenance easement.
Easement to Re-enter
Buying a new build home can grant time-limited rights to a subdivision developer or home contractor to re-enter your lot. That lets contractors work on projects left unfinished that are part of agreements of purchase and sale. The easement expires when the development is complete.
Buying a new home from a builder in Ontario.
Ending or Releasing Easements
Property easements may last as long as you own the land. They transfer to a new owner when you sell, but releasing or ending them can be tricky.
You may be able to negotiate to buy both the dominant and servient tenement rights. You can go to court to request to merge tenement rights or if you think an easement is unfair. For example, if your neighbours are in your space too often and you think it should be private.
Dealing with neighbourly property line disputes.
If an easement is in your way, ask Axess Law. We explain easements to you and their implications for your property sale or purchase. We can refer you to trusted legal partners if you want to dispute a property easement.
Covenants on Property You Own
Restrictive covenants may also bind you to terms and conditions you don’t like or didn’t understand when you bought. Covenants control everything from what colour your fence is to if you can start a hair salon in a commercial strata.
Home owners selling adjoining properties and commercial or residential developers are responsible for most. They’re called restrictive because they limit what you can do — and they’re legal.
Nine ways real estate lawyers can help you.
Types of Restrictive Covenants
- Land use
- Home size or style
- Colour of homes, outbuildings and fences
- Trees and yard appearance
- Use of secondary suites or laneway homes
- Storage, such as where RVs, boats or trucks are kept
- Non-competition, to prevent similar business start-ups
- And more
How Long They Last
Some covenants are short-lived, such as when a residential development is completed.But most “run with the land.” They’re in place for up to 40 years or whatever your offer to purchase says. Since you signed it, you’re bound to it. And, just like easements, so are future purchasers.
What to do if a construction or financial lien blocks your real estate deal.
How to Remove Restrictive Covenants
Whether you can have a covenant removed depends on your agreement of purchase and sale. Only a court can remove a restrictive covenant unless the property developer agrees or it is a personal covenant, created between you and another party by contract.
If you object to restrictive covenants you think are unreasonable, Axess Law can help. We refer you to trusted legal partners for legal advice on removing covenants that get in your way.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Axess Law gets easements and restrictive covenants in writing when we finalize your real estate purchase.
We do property title transfer (Ontario only) searches to see if easements or covenants exist and explain your rights while closing the deal. If you choose to walk away, our real estate lawyers advise you on who gets the deposit if a deal falls through.
The title transfer fee (Ontario) is around $150 when you register a mortgage too or $78 for a title alone. Axess Law flat fee real estate lawyers are more affordable than you would normally pay because we offer only the legal services you absolutely require. Our cost to transfer house titles (Ontario) is just $649 plus HST and $799.99 to refinance a mortgage (plus HST).
We can close your home purchase for $999.99 and up plus HST or sell your home for $799.99 and up plus HST.
Book Lawyers Online or Online
We have an affordable real estate lawyer (Toronto, Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa) when you need one. Video conference online from the comfort of your home or office, anywhere in Ontario. Prefer to meet in person? Use our easy online booking form to make in person appointments at any of our Axess Law locations.
Dial our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line (toll free to 1-877-402-4277) for assistance with making appointments or if you have questions about how much legal services cost. Access law services day or evening, 7 days a week, whenever it’s most convenient for you.
We have onsite parking and easy access to public transit.