Your parking spot is along a shared driveway. Is it legal?
Figure out who can access your parking spot with these tips on easements and right of way rules in Ontario.
Right of Way Rules in Ontario
Rights of way (ROW) give permission for neighbours, municipal workers, or commercial business owners to cross your property and vice versa. ROWs are typically legal easements granted by property owners to or by you. More on covenants and easements.
Say, for instance, your municipality owns a water line on your land. When an easement or right of way is listed on title to property you buy or own, you have the right to legal use of that part. But the municipality can cross your property to service the water line, and you have to notify the municipality of any work you undertake on or near the easement.
4 Types of Ontario Easements
The same is true for your parking spot. An easement can give you the legal right to cross your neighbour’s driveway or use a parking spot on their property.
How does it work then?
Property owners can grant rights of way, or local and provincial governments can make statutes (or laws) allowing access. Crossing property to get to the other side can be deemed squatters’ rights (legally known as a prescriptive easement). The right of way may even be implied, such as sharing a wall in a townhouse.
Right of Way Rules in Ontario
That brings us to your parking spot. Could you be violating right of way rules by crossing your neighbour’s land to use your parking spot? Protect your land with a heritage conservation easement.
What’s been done in past and how reasonable your access is can make a legal difference. Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Fisher v Saade, 2021 ruled it would be unreasonable to prevent Airbnb guests of a landlocked cottage owner from crossing a neighbour’s lot to get to the beach.
Right of way rules in the property title granted the landlocked owner waterfront access.
But the court agreed with the waterfront property owner that building a dock and putting out chairs for Airbnb guests were out of bounds. Since the landlocked lot was not a waterfront property, it was unreasonable to expect to have a ramp and dock for paying guests to lounge on.
Keeping Your Parking Spot Legal
What does it mean for you?
As long as your parking spot was agreed to during a title transfer, you should be fine. Building a walkway, garage, or carport on your parking spot probably isn’t. Nor is repaving the driveway without your neighbour’s consent. Hire a licensed professional surveyor in Ontario.
Before you do anything to that shared access parking spot, talk to your neighbour and review the property deed with an Ontario real estate lawyer. Your agreement of purchase and sale should:
- Be specific about your parking spot rights, such as how it can be used and who maintains it.
- Identify who can cross a neighbour’s property and for what purposes. Can contractors, maintenance workers, or commercial visitors use the easement, or only you and your guests?
- Include coordinates for the parcel of land the easement applies to. Attach a property survey if you have one or include GPS coordinates.
- Can a gate be installed, or can you or your neighbour block access in any way?
- Can the easement be terminated or changed and if so, how?
- Who pays damages and when?
Who Can Park on Public Streets
You can park on public streets, usually without a parking permit. Parking on public streets is perfectly legal as long as:
- it’s not a restricted parking area
- you’re not blocking a driveway or fire hydrant
- you heed any signage
- and you don’t abandon your vehicle there.
Roadways are publicly owned, meaning you can almost always park outside any home or business that’s not a restricted or designated parking space. Always check municipal bylaws before assuming anything. Basic parking rules in Ontario.
Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer
You owe it to yourself to get an explanation of right of way rules and easements before you make an offer to purchase on land with a shared parking spot or driveway. What’s in the agreement of purchase and sale.
Your Axess Law real estate lawyer goes through terms and conditions in your agreement of purchase and sale with you. We review who owns easements and your parking spot entitlements or rights of way. How a real estate lawyer can help.
If a parking spot is an issue, our licensed real estate law firm can negotiate with the seller’s attorney to get their consent to an easement. With their agreement, we can even amend the offer to give you more time to make mortgage financing and land survey arrangements.
Before you close, we search title to property to ensure financial claims or construction liens don’t hold up your purchase. If claims do arise, your Axess Law real estate lawyer talks to the seller’s agent to ensure you have clear title to your new home. How to make a property title transfer in Ontario.
Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are
Access lawyers for less in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.
Phone or Go Online to Book a Lawyer
Book appointments with ease with our online web form https://www.axesslaw.com/ or dial toll free to 1-877-402-4277 (647-479-0118 in Greater Toronto Area). Your Axess Law real estate attorney can video conference with you anywhere in Ontario, 7 days a week. We make day or evening appointments, at your convenience. And, if you prefer, you can meet with us in person at any of our conveniently located Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices.
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