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Toronto Property Dispute Lawyers

As the old saying goes, “a man’s home is his castle”. Understandably, property owners and tenants are very attached to the home in which they live and feel a strong sense of pride over it. Disputes that may arise in the context of a house, condo, cottage, or other property, including disputes over noise, trespassing, boundary disputes, access to property, can become extremely contentious, time and energy consuming, and often require legal intervention to resolve.

At Baker & Company, our highly experienced Toronto property dispute lawyers have been advising clients for more than 30 years. We provide proactive guidance and advice intended to effectively address property disputes before they escalate into major issues. Where such an approach is not effective, and an issue escalates to litigation, we will assertively advocate for your rights. We work hard to solve your problems so that you can enjoy your property.

Property Rights in Ontario 

Property owners and tenants in Ontario have many rights. These include:

  • The right to peaceful enjoyment of your property;
  • The right to utilize a right of way or easement on another’s property (and the concurrent right to contest illegitimate rights of way or easements);
  • The right to establish a claim to access through the doctrine of adverse possession (and the concurrent right to obtain a closing order or otherwise stop access through the Road Access Act); and
  • The right to contest zoning.

If you feel as though any of these rights have been negatively impacted, or if you would like to talk to a lawyer about what you can do to protect your home and your land, contact Baker & Company.

Encroachments 

An encroachment takes place when a structure intrudes on or is built on someone else’s property.  Common encroachments include fences, storage sheds, garages, additions to houses, and the like. In cottage country areas, encroachments can include pump houses, boat houses, guest houses, gazebos, and other similar structures.

Encroachments can become a point of contention between neighbours, can cause volatile disputes, and can make it very difficult to sell your property. Resolving encroachment matters can be challenging and is best undertaken with the help and guidance of a knowledgeable real estate lawyer.

Adverse Possession 

The doctrine of adverse possession, often referred to as “squatters’ rights”, is a legal principle which stipulates that a person can claim an interest in land that is owned by another person.

In order to establish adverse possession, the person seeking to do so must establish that:

  • For a 10-year period they were in actual possession of the land (which must also have been “open, notorious and peaceful” possession such that the owner of the land knows, or has an opportunity to know that he/she is being excluded from his/her land by the adverse possessor);
  • They intended to exclude the true owners from the land; and
  • The true owners were, in fact, excluded from the land.

Following changes to the Land Titles Act, a large majority of land in Ontario has been converted from the Registry system to the Land Titles system. Properties that remain under the Registry system remain open to adverse possession claims, while new adverse possession claims cannot be made for properties that are registered in the land titles system.

Where a property is registered in the land titles system, the person claiming possession must establish that the required 10-year period elapsed before the property was converted to land-titles. This may require that the parties involved locate historical evidence that may be several decades old in order to establish when and where something was built. At Baker & Company, our lawyers have travelled all across Ontario to help clients locate and analyze these documents.

In some cases, adverse possession claims can be relatively minor; for instance, where there has been a mutual mistake between neighbours over a fence put up along what they both believed to be the property line. This can essentially amount to a dispute over a few inches. However, in other cases, disputes can involve a more significant area of land, including a driveway, access to a cottage, a park, or the like.

Easement Disputes 

An easement is a right or an interest that is annexed to land. It permits the owner of the “dominant land” to impose restrictions on the owner of the “servient land” with respect to the land’s use.

The most commonly encountered easements include:

  • A right of way;
  • A right to light; and
  • A right of support.

Easements can be granted in several ways. Once an easement is obtained, it will continue until it is either extinguished by statute, or when all properties involved are owned by the same party.

Neighbour Disputes 

Unfortunately, not everyone gets along with their neighbours at all times. Disputes between neighbours can quickly become very emotional and extremely contentious as each side attempts to assert what they perceive to be their right to do what they wish on their property.

Common neighbour disputes include disputes over:

  • Noise issues;
  • Parking issues;
  • Property line disputes (including disputes over fences, hedges, trees, etc.);
  • Building code or bylaw violations;
  • Untidy/improperly maintained property;
  • Trespassing; and
  • Pets (including noise, failure to properly train a pet, animal abuse, or similar).

Often these disputes escalate to the point where legal intervention is required.

For Legal Representation in Property and Neighbour Disputes Contact Baker & Company 

At Baker & Company we are committed to making the process of legally addressing a property dispute or neighbour dispute as clear and approachable as possible. We will outline all of your options, help you to understand what you can expect going forward, and put agreements in place to prevent future disputes. In all cases, we seek to represent your best interests and achieve the optimal result at the lowest possible cost. Call us at 416-777-0100 or contact us online for a consultation.

Have Questions? Contact Us

130 Adelaide Street West, Suite 3300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5H 3P5

Phone: 416-777-0100
Fax: 416-366-3992
info@bakerlawyers.com