Restrictive Covenants, how they can effect your waterfront ownership

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Restrictive Covenants- this is an legal agreement between land ownership parties that creates an obligation to do something or alternately not to do something, basically a legally enforceable promise.

They can be positive towards the land or development such as establishing the completion of something. Negatively they can forbid other things; common occurrences in subdivisions are no clotheslines or RV parking.

Road through Forest

In cottage and waterfront property the most important are the covenants that are said to 'run with the land'. This will be noted in the deed and is binding on all future owners of the property and lands.

When buying in cottage country on rivers or lakes, easements are the most important covenants to note.

This is the right of access over another person or person's property or properties to gain a benefit from, and the use of a legal "right-of way".

This means that someone is granted the legal right to cross another's property for the use and enjoyment of a benefit such as the lakefront.

This is referred to as the Dominant Tenement, the property that is gaining the benefit of the easement. The land being crossed over to get to the lake, is called the Servient Tenement.

To explain: If you buy a waterfront lot and it has a covenant in the deed explaining a right-of way to a another lot. This 'other lot' will forever have the right to cross the land.

If this is the case the waterfront lot becomes the Servient Tenement.

The wording on the deed would be similar to:

"subject to an easement in, over, and along the most northerly 40 feet of even width through Lot number 4 and running westerly from the road allowance between concession V and VI in the township of Laketownship to the waters of My Lake"

If the access to the land is over another property the easement must be worded in a covenant in the deed.

If not, there is no legal right to use the road that crosses another property.

All properties being crossed need to have a mutual covenant in place, this need to be concurrent. There are legal remedies and possibilities to resolve issues such as this.

If you are purchasing do you really want to go there?

Restrictive Covenants need to be clearly worded and in the deed. Make sure to check thoroughly with your lawyer that this is clear and there are no questions about access.

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