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By virtue of Section 2 of the Public Lands Act, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is responsible for the management of Crown land in Ontario, including the beds of most water bodies. Part of that responsibility is ensuring a fair return to the people of Ontario for the use and occupation of Crown land. From the perspective of MNR, Crown land is no less valuable than private land. In the private sector, if someone wants to occupy another persons property, a legal agreement between the two parties and often payment of a fee are normally required.

In May of 2000, MNR temporarily suspended the collection of rents for boathouse sites pending an MNR review of the practice to address concerns that the rental approach was not being implemented in a fair and equitable manner. The review has been completed and in recommending the resumption of rent collection, it recognized the need to reform the program in the following ways:

? Our Free Use of Crown Land policy was revised to better clarify the distinction between free use? boat storage facilities and boathouses containing living accommodation;
? The occupational authority, or tenure, to be issued for most boathouse sites will be standardized in the form of a Lease, which will provide a secure form of tenure for boathouse owners, and a more equitable rental rate structure;
? Rental rates will be established using credible and current market value information;
? The program will be implemented consistently throughout all of Ontario, not just in certain parts of the province.

Which boathouses do not require tenure and payment of rent?
The following uses of Crown land do not require land use occupational authority or the payment of a fee or rent:
.single storey boathouses provided they are used strictly for private use or commercial tourism non-revenue producing purposes and are in compliance with the following:
(a) are mutually considered to be a necessary adjunct to the use and enjoyment of the adjoining upland property:
(b) are located directly in front of the owners/occupiers adjoining upland property (or a shoreline road allowance or Crown shoreline reserve abutting the upland property) and do not interfere with a neighbours use and enjoyment of their waterfront property;
(c) have been approved or exempted by the Canadian Coast Guard under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, if applicable:
(d) are in compliance with applicable permitting requirements:
(e) and specific to docks and boathouses, are used only for the storage and docking of boats and related equipment.?

If a boathouse does not meet the above criteria, for example, it has a second storey, (regardless of its use), contains living accommodation or is located remote from the owners privately owned upland property, then occupational authority and the payment of an annual rent is required.

Effective January 1, 2006, MNR will again be collecting rent for all boathouses that do not meet the Free Use Policy.

Why doesnt our Free Use Policy recognize all boathouse/shoreline structures as a free use?
Our policy recognizes a riparian owners right to safe access to and from a water body by including docks and single storey boathouse structures used for boat docking and storage purposes as a free use. However, the owner of a two storey boathouse, or one containing living accommodation, is realizing significantly more benefit from their use of Crown land than the owner of a more conventional boathouse used strictly for boat docking and storage. Consistent with the strategic directions outlined in Our Sustainable Future, a fair return to the people of Ontario for this use of Crown land is warranted.

What forms of tenure are available?
The standardized form of tenure is a Crown Lease with a 20 year term for the following reasons:
? MNR policy recommends that a Lease should be used in cases where valuable improvements are involved and/or when the expected duration of the occupation is long term
? From a fairness and consistency perspective, all tenants will be treated the same in that rents for all tenants will be calculated using the same percentage (6%) of market value and all tenants will have to incur the cost of obtaining a Crown land plan of survey which is a necessary prerequisite to the issuance of a Lease
? By insisting on a form of tenure (Lease) that requires a survey, the extent, boundaries and area of the Crown land being occupied will be accurately confirmed.
? Leasehold title receives a title guarantee backed by the Land Titles Assurance Fund
? Leasehold title is transferable and can be used as security for a mortgage
? Since a Lease is recorded in Land Registry offices, its existence is obvious to conveyancers/title searchers when the associated upland property changes hands

As it usually takes several months for the preparation of a lease, an interim Land Use Permit will be issued and cancelled once the Lease is ready for registration.

Is the purchase of the site an option?
Sale (Letters Patent) may be offered where ALL of the following criteria are met:
? The site is located within an organized municipality
? The site shares a common boundary with the associated privately owned upland property
? The site is located between the projected sideline boundaries of the associated upland property
? The site is occupied by valuable improvements and the expected duration of the occupation is long term
? MNR does not wish to retain future options for the site

How is the annual rent or sale price determined?
Benchmark? appraisal reports are available for the three areas of the province where the largest number of sites are concentrated:
? Lake of the Woods/Winnipeg River
? District Municipality of Muskoka
? St. Lawrence River

The reports provide per square foot? values of various types and locations of waterfront properties within each study area. These benchmark values will then be applied to each site and multiplied by the square footage occupied (established by survey) to determine the market value. In the case of a sale, the resultant market value will be the sale price. In the case of a lease, the annual rent will be 6% of the market value.

Is a legal survey required?
Yes. The applicant is required to hire, at their expense, an Ontario Land Surveyor to prepare a Crown land survey of the subject water lot in accordance with Instructions Governing Crown Land Surveys and Plans, June 1, 1998. Surveys are a legal requirement when issuing a lease or letters patent.

What is a Quit Claim Letters Patent?
In situations where the occupant can prove that he/she and his/her predecessors in possession have been in adverse possession of the site for 60 years or more, he/she may qualify for Quit Claim Letters Patent (refer to Policy PL 2.02.01 Quit Claim Letters Patent). If a claimant qualifies, he/she may, at his/her discretion, obtain confirmation in the form of Quit Claim Letters Patent which would necessitate obtaining a Crown land plan of survey of the site and payment of the administrative fee of in effect at that time (currently $1,000.00).

If the occupant cannot prove 60 years of adverse possession, then the occupation is considered to be unauthorized, and tenure in the form of a Lease and payment of rent as of January 1, 2006 will be required.

Please contact the local MNR office for instructions on how to submit the required application information.

Nov. 25, 2005

This entry was posted on May 21, 2016 by Jim and Iris

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