Real Estate

Can neighbours be refused road allowance if they are not paying for upkeep?

Can neighbours be refused road allowance if they do not have their own road and are not paying for maintenance and upkeep?

First, find out if your neighbours have a deeded right-of-way (also known as an easement), which allows them to use your road. If so, you cannot legally prevent them from doing so. On the other hand, as owner of the land “underneath,” you have no obligation to maintain the road for their use. So if the upkeep is onerous, you’d be within your rights to stop maintaining it.

If there is no deeded right-of-way, then your neighbours are using the road by your goodwill. Even so, if they had no other access to their cottage properties, then according to Ontario’s Road Access Act you could not legally cut them off. But if they have their own road allowance, you would be within your rights to refuse them the use of your road.

Don’t close the road without notice; instead, send a letter stating your intent to terminate your neighbours’ use of the road by a certain date. The onus is then on them to respond. Your neighbours may have a long-standing right-of-way you don’t know about, and may come forward with proof. It could be that, although a road allowance exists on their survey, the municipality has not granted consent for a road. Your neighbours may even offer to assist with upkeep, and if that satisfies you, it will keep things amicable.