Just last week, one of my clients asked me this exact question and then lo and behold, the next day I got my newsletter from Real Estate lawyer, author and speaker, Mark Weisleder addressing this very issue. In the email, Mark said:
“Lakefront cottage purchases have many challenges, particularly with respect to who owns the land at the water’s edge. Please see the attached article, which discusses the range of issues when buying or selling a lakefront property and the importance of understanding whether a 66 foot shore allowance applies to the property and whether it has been properly closed by the municipality and transferred to the owner. Otherwise, you could have a situation where the cottage is built on land that is not owned by the seller.”
Here is a link to Mark’s article on this topic as it appeared in the Toronto Star.
As you can read, the answer is not an easy one and depends on how the current deed is written among other questions. Buyers of waterfront properties should ALWAYS get a full legal opinion regarding the ownership rights and obligations of such a property.