Is the Right of Way to Your Cottage Secure?

Many cottage owners in Muskoka access their cottages via a right of way. These private cottage roads often meander along long stretches of shoreline or forest, giving access to multiple cottages. They are a series of “Together With” and “Subject To” easements that the property owners allow to benefit each other. Sometimes when a large parcel of land has been severed the original land owner retains the entire road or right of way.  As each lot is sold grants an easement  (ROW) over the required sections.

This all sounds very simple, but there is an “however” coming; as you may have guessed.

The History

Up until the 1990s, land was registered in one of two ways: Land Registry or Land Titles. In the late 1990s all Ontario land registration was moved into the Land Titles system. The system was automated so that it can be accessed electronically. This makes things much easier to manage, especially for lawyers at the time of a sale.  The new deeds and any mortgages are electronically registered from their office. They no longer have to line up to do that last minute search and then register your documents.

However, if the easement granting your cottage a right of way was registered in the Land Registry system.  It would have needed to be renewed every 40 years. If at the time of transfer to land titles in the late 1990s it had expired, it DID NOT TRANSFER.  You may no longer have a right of way granting legal access to your property.

What to do to ensure that your Muskoka Cottage Right of Way is current and secure.

If you purchased your property in the last 10-20 years, your lawyer will have registered it in Land Titles. He/she will have made sure the Muskoka Cottage Right of Way was there. You can verify this by reading the documents that your lawyer gave you at your closing. If you want to check your title you can ask your lawyer or do a title search online at Teranet. When you retrieve your parcel register from the search you will see what they call the “thumbnail”. This gives the legal description of your property. What you do not want to see is the phrase “except the easement therein”  That will mean that the easement was removed.

Land Titles or Land Registry?

If you purchased prior to the transfer to Land Titles you will need to check your title to see if you easement transferred. As above, your can get a copy of your title from your lawyer or at Teranet and you will be looking to see if the phrase “except the easement therein” is in the thumbnail description.

Resolve the Issues

If you discover that you no longer have legal access over the original easement to your property there are some ways to resolve it, these include:

1. By agreement:

If you and the owner(s) of the easement are on good terms, you can agree to register it as a new easement. Remember you all have to agree and also agree on the cost to achieve it, which could include a new survey. This solution often fails as usually one or more of the parties sees an opportunity to gain at someone else’s expense.

2. By Legislation:

Section 113 (2) of the Registry Act (as amended) states as follows. Notice of Claim – A person having a claim…may register a notice of claim with respect to the land affected by the claim.

(a) At any time after the notice period for the claim [within 40 years from its original registration]; or.

(b) At any time after the notice period but before the registration of a conflicting claim of a purchaser in good faith for valuable consideration of the land. So you can register your notice of claim any time after the 40 years has expired. Provided the owner of the land has not already registered a document that conflicts with your claim.

If you discover you have an issue you may want to contact your title insurance company if you have one, as they may cover the cost of getting this issue resolved.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your Muskoka Cottage Right of Way and we will do our best to assist you. Remember that if you access your cottage via a right of way we will need to confirm that it is properly registered so that  there are no hiccups on closing.

Bambi – Public Enemy #1

Deer love to eat the plants around your cottage. They are truly beautiful and a delight to observe, but the damage they can cause to the gardens at the cottage while you are busy at your city home make these darling Muskoka deer Public Enemy #1. Don’t be fooled by that docile “who me?” look as you pull up the drive on a Friday afternoon and catch a glimpse of mamma and her spotted fawn. This isn’t a Disney movie; Bambi wants dinner, your garden is a free buffet and he’s not making reservations.

Spring Buffet

Every spring when deer come out of their wintering areas, they come looking for young, tender grass or herbaceous greenery. You can bet your Muskoka cottage garden will be one of their first stops. Come summer, your garden offers gourmet delights aplenty; daylilies, hostas, impatiens and just about every green or blooming thing you value. And if you’re trying to grow a cottage veggie or herb garden, you can count on it that a four-legged connoisseur would love to nibble away at the choicest morsels long before you get to enjoy a single salad.

Deer War

To save your beautiful garden from this treachery, you’ll need to wage war on these four-legged beauties. You need to tell them the “buck” stops here. We have a very high local deer population in this wonderful region, and they can easily devastate weeks of hard work and in a few short hours munch their way through all the money you invested in plants. Here are some tips for cultivating a garden that the deer will not want to eat.

Plant what they don’t like

Consider planting deer-resistant plants. Spring is the perfect time to get started. Plant them amongst the other plants you love to help deter the deer. The plants listed below (taken from the Plantskyyd website) can provide you with some ideas. Although not all are native to the Muskoka area, many will do well here.

Generally speaking, plants that have fuzzy leaves, intense fragrance, bitter taste or thorny texture will be less attractive to deer. Most ornamental grasses are also not palatable to deer as they “tickle” their tongue.

Maples, Honey Locust, Hawthorne, Oak, Birch, Ash, Douglas Fir, Bristlecone Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Austrian Pine, Mugo Pine, Canada Hemlock, Engelman Spruce

Barberry, Juniper, Lilac, Rugosa Rose, Mugo Pine, Potentilla, Rubber Rabbitbrush, Spirea, Red Osier Dogwood, Mock Orange, Fragrant Sumac, Common Buckthorn, Buffalo berry, Bridalwreath, Viburnum, Chokecherry, Currant, Elderberry, Gooseberry, Caragana

Vines, Bittersweet, Baltic Ivy, Clematis, Honeysuckle

Ornamental Grasses, Columbine, Astilbe, Tickseed, Bee Balm, Black-eyed Susan, Bleeding Heart, Campanula, Catmint, Purple Coneflower, Gaillardia, Gayfeather, Bluestem Joe-Pye-Weed, Cranesbill Geranium, Foxglove, Dianthus, Hellebore, Bugbane, Sunflower, Candytuft, Iris, Japanese Anemone, Lavender, Lupine, Monkshood, Pearly Everlasting, Penstemon, Peony, Poppy, Lungwort, Daffodil, Goldenrod, Speedwell, Yucca, Yarrow, Salvia, Russian Sage, Sedum, Shasta Daisy

Ground Covers
Carpet Bugle, Lily of the Valley, Periwinkle, Pachysandra, Lamb’s Ears, Lamium, “Silver Brocade”, Artemisia, Snow in Summer, Thyme, Dead Nettle.

Deer love to eat the plants around your cottage. A homemade solution.

Homemade Repellant Spray.

Here is a home remedy found on-line:

  • 3 large eggs, shells included
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 cups of fresh green onion tops
  • 2 cups of water

Put everything into a blender and liquefy for 2 minutes. Add this mixture to a pail containing 2 quarts of warm water and melted deodorant soap such as “Dial”. Stir together, then add 2 tablespoons of chili powder or cayenne pepper and mix well. Splash, spray, drip or paint the mixture on the plants. Be sure to get egg shells on the leaves. When used every two weeks it is effective year-round. Save some of each batch to “ripen” the next batch. If making up this stinky remedy is not appealing, commercially-prepared repellants such as “Plantskydd” also work well.

Many experts recommend rotating your repellents and combining them with other tools or scare tactics such as a surprise burst of water, a loud noise or even a good old fashioned scarecrow.

Plan early so that in the summer, you can enjoy your Muskoka cottage gardens green and lush!

Thinking of Selling your Muskoka Cottage? Contact Sharon.