Thinking of living off the grid? Do you spend your late nights searching you tube and watching the latest HGTV? Over the past several years we have been getting more and more inquires from people who want to venture to off the grid living in Manitoba.
TV can be deceiving tho, as many US states have very few regulation when it comes to building codes and what you can do on a property. Here in Manitoba it is different, very different!
Lets start with the basics! A piece of land is located in an RM (Rural Municipality) the local government who is in charge of building permits, size restrictions and time to build restrictions on lots. They also maintain and own most of the non major roads such as gravel roads and the undeveloped road allowances.
Land can also be subject to what is called a “Developers Agreement” which is an extra set of rules and regulations added to the title of the land at the time of its development.
Your first step in assessing if a piece of land is suitable for off grid or alternative living is to speak with the RM and to have a professional such as a Realtor or Lawyer review the title of the property for additional restrictions on the development agreement.
Many people will comment “Its my land I can do what I want with it.” Incorrect! You have been give a title to the property which in its basic form is a contract with the Crown giving you rights to the property as long as you pay taxes and follow the rules. This is as close to property “ownership” as you can get in Canada.
Consequences for not paying taxes or going Macgyver on your property can be sever, such as fines, demolition of un permitted structures and loss of your title. All are within the RM’s power to do. So don’t go there!
So to summarize Step 1: When searching for land for off grid living check with the RM and the title of the property for the rules and regulations. Hire a professional who can help you and point you in the right direction.
Stay tuned for Step 2!