When you are actively looking to purchase a property in cottage country you will probably be perusing listings that your Realtor sent you or just on your own on MLS. You may come across this statement: “ask me about the benefits of living and building in an unorganized township”. What are the benefits? Who is looking for this classification? And what value does it bring to a property to have this classification?
Unorganized or unincorporated townships do not have local government. Instead, they often have a Local Services board. As such, they do not have a building official to conduct inspections or issue permits. If you have plans to build on an empty lot or are thinking of building an extension on an already existing structure – you will not have to deal with the headaches of building permits in an unincorporated township. This comes with one exception – you must get a permit to build a septic system from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Even though you are required to build your cottage/home/shed/boathouse/barn/garage in accordance with the Building Code Act – no one will inspect it to ensure compliance with the Act. In my opinion, unorganized townships can bring tremendous value to those looking to build a new home or cottage or someone looking at renovating an existing structure to suit their taste.
Unorganized townships can also bring value to those who want to change the use of the land. For example: if you wanted to use land that was previously used for a single family home to open a resort or camp you would be able to do this without changing the zoning. This can be very convenient and is often sought out by those looking to start a business like a resort or camp.
What buying property in an unorganized township gives you is the freedom to build and renovate on your property without building permits. If you are looking for a built turnkey home or cottage, unorganized townships will not bring much additional value as the building has already been completed. If you are looking to buy an existing structure in an unorganized township, make sure to get a through home inspection to ensure that it is built to code.
Unorganized townships come with low tax bills. However they may still be responsible for Board of Education taxes, Local Service Board taxes and Local Roads Board taxes if the unincorporated township is within the jurisdiction of these boards.
Generally, in Ontario’s Near North (even in townships that do have local government) building permits are not difficult to attain and are not cost prohibitive. The populations of the townships are small and the properties can be quite large. Also, if the land you are interested in or own is designated Rural Residential, there are many different, legal uses for the land – getting a permit to build accessory buildings for these uses should not be a problem.
If you are looking to buy property or have questions about buying property in the Unorganized District of Parry Sound feel free to contact me directly or by email.