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How to Deal with Cottage Property Disputes

family lawyers barrie, How to Deal with Cottage Property Disputes

The lawyers at Epstein & Associates can provide efficient and result-oriented solutions with respect to resolving the unique issues arising from the cottage and recreational property disputes.

Types of Disputes

There are multiple types of disputes that can occur in cottage country, when either purchasing, splitting assets or fulfilling a last Will & Testament request regarding a cottage.

We have outlined the best next steps to follow if you are faced with any of these situations:

Agreement of Purchase and Sale  

When the performance of an agreement of purchase and sale cannot be completed, one of the most common reasons is that the buyer was unable to secure sufficient funds in time for the closing. 

Sometimes this can be because the buyer was not able to obtain mortgage financing and has not terminated performance obligation within the time which may be permitted in the agreement of purchase and sale. 

This can also be because the buyer was anticipating receipt of the purchase price from his or her own sale that did not close.

Generally, when a buyer is not ready, willing, and able to close at the closing date, but the seller is, any deposit will be forfeited. 

A seller can also pursue the buyer for any losses they sustain in having to re-sell the cottage property, including any loss in the sale price, carrying costs, closing costs, and legal fees. 

Areas of Interest Include: Failure to Close Sale | Refusal to Sell | Refusal to Buy | Failure to Close Because Cannot Obtain Mortgage Financing | Refusal to Close Pre Construction Sale | Failure to Close Pre Construction Sale

Splitting Cottage Assets With a Previous Spouse

Similar to any property disputes, the legal rule is that the value of property acquired by either spouse during the marriage and still existing at the time of separation must be divided equally between the spouses.

This is called the “right to equalization” and it is triggered by the dissolution of the marriage or death of either party.  It is important to note, this entitlement is to the value of the property and not necessarily to the property itself.  Therefore, who is named on title will likely continue to hold title on the dissolution of the relationship.

Fulfilling the Last Will and Testament 

What Happens When You Inherit a Cottage With a Sibling?

If you and your sibling inherit a home, you have several options, but most depend on reaching an agreement between you regarding what to do with the property.


Most likely when a home is passed down it is an even split between siblings unless the decedent stated otherwise in their will.

If one of you wants to keep the property and the other wants to sell, this should make it relatively easy for one of you to buy out the other. 

You’d only have to finance half its value. You can then give your sibling cash for his share and transfer the deed into your sole name. The expense might be minimal – just closing costs and an appraisal to establish the house’s value.

Sale or Rental

If neither nor your sibling feels strongly about keeping the house, selling it or renting it out could be a solution. 

If your relationship is such that you can get along as co-owners, you can rent the property and each takes a little money each month from the proceeds

Suit for Partition

If you cannot agree, you will have to involve the court. The steps involved with this is filing a lawsuit which will basically be asking the judge to order the sale of the home so you can terminate your co-ownership. 


When faced with cottage country disputes it is best to contact a lawyer just to ensure that no legal requirements are missed.

From our offices in Barrie, Ontario, we serve the following areas (including nearby localities), with the purchase and sale of properties, as well as resolving disputes arising from the ownership and/or sale of these properties:

  1. Westport
  2. Muskoka & Almaguin Highlands
  3. Parry Sound
  4. Haliburton
  5. Bancroft & Northern Haskings
  6. Rideau Lakes
  7. Bruce Peninsula
  8. Gravenhurst
  9. Kawartha 
  10. Kawartha Lakes
  11. Thousand Islands
  12. Lake Simcoe
  13. Prince Edward County
  14. Orillia
  15. Georgian Bay
  16. Lake Rosseau
  17. Sauble Beach
  18. Lion’s Head
  19. Hope Bay
  20. Miller Lake
  21. Dyer’s Bay
  22. Lake of Bays

Multiple types of disputes may apply to your situation, and it’s best to talk with a lawyer to determine the best course of action. 

For more information or to speak with one of our Barrie lawyers to assist in your cottage country dispute, feel free to contact us now.

This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.