Before buying a new home, please consider the following before finalizing your purchase:

Who owns the road I will use to access my house?

Roads in Colchester County are owned by either:

  • the Province,
  • the County, or
  • private individuals or companies

Services such as plowing and maintenance, garbage pick up, school bus routes and access to emergency vehicles are affected by ownership of the road. Call the County Office for information on road ownership before buying.

Does my home have access to water?

If your home is using well water, contact Nova Scotia Environment at 902-893-5880 for enquiries. If you are in Debert or Tatamagouche, contact us to determine if you have access to a public water supply and to find out more about your water connection, including setting up a water account, cost for water and making a connection.

Does my home have access to a sewer system?

The County operates several public sewer systems in areas such as Tatamagouche, Debert, Great Village, Brookfield, Hilden, Valley, Bible Hill, Salmon River and Truro Heights. If you want to know more about an existing sewer connection, connecting to our sewer and related costs, please contact the Public Works Office. If you are located outside of a sewer serviced area and have any questions about on-site septic fields, please contact Nova Scotia Environment.

For additional information, please contact the Public Works Office at 902-897-3175.

Where is my organics green cart, I can’t find it?

Every home has been provided with a green cart that remains a part of the residential property. If there isn't a green cart, you may need to purchase a new one from the County or make it a part of your real estate transaction to have one replaced.

What do I do if my green cart is broken?

Some of the older green carts are starting to break and need replacement or repairs. Contact us to learn about your options.

Where can I get a small kitchen green bin?

You can purchase a mini bin from the County Tax Office, 1 Church Street, Truro.

How do I find out when garbage collection takes place and what are the rules?

You can download the free Colchester Waste App, visit our website at or call the Colchester Solid Waste Helpline.

For additional information on the purchase, delivery or repair of a green cart, or for garbage pickup details, please contact the Colchester Solid Waste Helpline at 902-895-4777.

The house I want to buy has a second unit or in-law suite. Is it legal?

Permits are always required to add apartments and in-law suites to existing homes as they require fire separations and other code requirements to be met for safety purposes. Contact the Building Inspection Office and check before purchasing the property. Once the sale is final, you are the new owner and are required to bring the unit up to code which may have substantial associated costs. Also, some zones in Colchester County do not permit additional units, so be sure to speak with the Development Officer.

A house is and always was a house, right?

In the age of tiny houses and trying to avoid code requirements, sheds and garages are sometimes turned into homes without the required permits. Although we do catch some of these properties during routine inspections, be sure your lawyer checks to ensure this is not the case with your new cottage or home. Permits and code requirements are not the same for sheds and garages as they would be for a new home/cottage. The cost of bringing these buildings up to code can be substantial and is one that is the responsibility of the current property owner.

Can I keep animals on my property?

Some zones in Colchester County require large setbacks for buildings and fenced areas to house animals that cannot be met due to lot size. Be sure to speak with the Development Officer to see if the home you are considering can meet these setbacks.

Can I expand my house or build other buildings on my property?

Zoned areas in Colchester County may have increased setbacks compared to the fire safety setbacks required under the building code. To review the setbacks needed for any planned addition or to change the house, please contact a Building Inspector and the Development Officer to ensure you have the space required for an addition.

Can I run a business out of my home?

Some zones in Colchester County do not permit businesses, home occupations or commercial uses. Be sure to speak with the Development Officer to see if you can utilize the home in the way you have been planning.

What are the rules surrounding dog licensing in Colchester County?

It is the law in Colchester County to register your dog annually for a fee of $12.00. Tags can be purchased at numerous locations throughout the County. For a list of tag vendors, see the article on page 9, contact our office or visit our website at
Please contact the Community Development Office at 902-897-3170 for additional information relating to building permits, zoning and animal control services.

Are there outstanding taxes on the house I want to buy?

Having your realtor or lawyer order a tax certificate from the County is a great way to protect yourself from unwanted expenses. For a fee of only $25.00, you can find out about any outstanding taxes, utility account balance or liens on your future property. If you are buying a new home that has as existing water connection, be sure that a final meter reading has been recorded by the water utility before taking ownership of the new property.

How much will my taxes cost and when are taxes due?

Each year Council sets a residential and commercial base tax rate to be applied towards a taxable properties assessed value. The majority of properties in Colchester County also have area tax rates depending on the location and services available. Please contact the Tax Office if you have any questions in regard to the current tax rate or area rates that apply to your property. Annual tax bills are mailed once, in June, and are due August 31st of each year.

For more information, please contact the Tax Office at 902-897-3150.