School is out, Memorial Day is over, and summer is here. With that comes lake houses, beach house, and cabins in the woods. Some of these properties are closed down for the winter and not visited for many months. Aside from de-winterizing, deep cleaning, and re-stocking the refrigerator what should you be doing to open your second home?
- Walk your property line. Check that the neighbor hasn’t built a new shed or fence on the wrong side of the boundary line.
- Review dock and swimline permits. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services regulates the placement of docks, boat slips, and swimlines in all lakes and ponds. If you plan to make any changes or repairs to an existing dock, or plan to build a new dock entirely, a permit might be required.
- Examine the property. Now is a good time to observe the whole parcel and check for any squatters or unauthorized occupants. Look for and remove any potential hazards, and address any changes in water drainage that may be the result of new construction nearby.
- Review access rights. If your property came with rights to water access, or the right to pass over another’s property, confirm the location and permitted used of that access. If the right is held jointly with other properties, consider forming an association for maintenance purposes. Who owns the land? Who is responsible for repairing a shared dock? Can work be done on the access way? Who is liable if someone is injured in the right of way? If your property is the one used for access by others, consider marking the right of way location clearly.
Whether a year round or summer months only home, it’s important to review your property annually to avoid any surprises.