Nicole Boudreau

As a Realtor, I am constantly coming across informative, interesting information about Real Estate. This information can be extremely helpful to you, the home owner. Here is where l like to share that knowledge, insights and tips to help you with all your Real Estate needs.  And if you can't find the answer in my blog,  just give me a call/ txt / email anytime.  I would pleased to assist you in any way possible!

Heritage Property

27 January 2020
Nicole Boudreau

Under the Ontario Heritage Act municipalities can pass by-laws to designate properties of cultural heritage value or interest.

Designation of heritage properties is a way of publically acknowledging a property's value to a community.  At the same time, designation helps to ensure the conservation of these important places or the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.  Heritage properties can also be designated as part of a larger group of properties as a heritage conservation district.

Buying a heritage home is similar to owning a piece of history which can be a honour.  However, there are certain restrictions to owning a heritage home that potential buyers should be aware of before purchasing.

There are different ways that a property might fall under the Ontario Heritage Act:

1. Listed in the heritage register

Ontario municipalities maintain a list of properties that are of cultural heritage value or interest.

If a property is included in the register, the owner must give the municipal council at least 60 days’ written notice before demolishing or removing a building from the property.

2. Designated heritage property

A home is declared a designated heritage property when the municipality passes a by-law. This grants the property additional protection and promotes awareness of its local history and cultural value.

The owner of a designated heritage property can’t alter the property in any way that would affect the property’s heritage attributes, unless they apply to the municipal council and receive written consent. The application must include the plans and set out any other information the council may require.

However, not all changes to a heritage property require heritage approvals. This will depend on the specific by-law and what the municipality has defined as the heritage attributes of the property that must be preserved.

When purchasing a designated heritage property, the new owner must also give notice of the change to the clerk of the municipality within 30 days of taking possession.

3. Part of a heritage conservation district

A property may also be granted heritage status if it falls within a heritage conservation district, which extends to a defined area of a municipality. This could include entire neighbourhoods, buildings, shops, land and fixtures such as street lamps.

As with a designated heritage property, if an owner wishes to make any alterations to a home that falls within a heritage conservation district, they must apply to the municipality for a permit before they can do anything. However, the municipal heritage district plan for the area will include specific examples of “minor” changes that can be made without a permit.

Legal advice on restrictions

Whenever a property has heritage restrictions, a real estate lawyer is a great asset to help determine what is permitted under municipal by-laws.

Identifying a heritage property

To find information about properties currently on the Heritage Register you can search by a map or by address:

Resource - Heritage Registrar, RECO