Camping in Ontario Bulletin: A Windfall for “Campers” and Liability for Land Owners

July 10, 2023

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently declared that owners of permanent structures on leased land are subject to the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). For owners of recreational campgrounds and recreational land lease properties the ruling creates unexpected and costly liability because if the RTA applies, the owner of the land is required to maintain roadways, trees, provide garbage removal, snow removal, and ensure compliance with all “housing” standards required by municipalities or other provincial legislation. The owner must also comply with rigorous security of tenure provisions and rent control provisions of the RTA. The net effect is to convert the property from a recreational use to a residential use regardless of zoning and infrastructure. For the owners of land lease homes, the ruling is a windfall: they effectively receive a transfer of the entire land value, plus extra’s, free of charge at the expense of the land owner. You cannot “contract out” of the RTA…

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