lakefront property for sale

Lakefront Property: FAQs About Dock Ownership


by Teresa Smith

A personal dock on Lake Lanier is a dream that many of you would love and many of you have! As a Lake Lanier real estate team and residents, we provide buyers with the information needed to apply for a change of ownership after closing on your new lake home…dock permits are NOT transferable. The US Army Corps of Engineers is available to answer your questions. The COE contact info and address is 1050 Buford Dam Road, 770-945-9531.

When you purchase a lake home, contact Shoreline Management to request a “Welcome to the Lake” packet detailing how to apply for a change of ownership Corps area rangers are assigned to the six areas of the lake, which can be found on the Corps website. Change of ownership paperwork cannot begin until you have your RECORDED deed from the county. If you have electricity at your dock, your change of ownership will require an “Exhibit C”. It must be completed by a certified licensed electrician in order to ensure that the electricity on your shoreline and dock comply with the national code (NEC). The Corps website includes a list of certified electricians. Dock permits expire at closing and do not transfer with the property. Change of ownership documents must be completed and are good for 5 years. Existing permits show the exact footprint for which your dock is permitted. The size is determined by factors including the width of the cove, depth at the dock, and distance between the docks to the left and right. To upgrade your dock, you must request the ranger to visit your location and determine if your dock qualifies. DO NOT purchase a different size dock until you receive your new permit showing the new permitted size. Only wood mulch can be used on your path to the lake.

If you have a tree in danger of falling, contact your ranger who will confirm the danger to your home, dock, or path. Take pictures of the threatening tree: one close‐up showing the structural defect of the tree and one further away showing the tree in relation to the structure.

• Email these pictures to your ranger with your request for a Specified Act Permit.

• Initial contact with your ranger should include all of your contact information and dock permit number. Include where the tree is located on the property and how it is marked. For example: near the back, left corner of my house marked with pink tape. If the ranger requires an in-person visit, marking the tree will make it easy to find without your presence. Cutting trees, limbs or any vegetation on Corps property is prohibited. If caught, you may have hefty fines.

Many lake homeowners with docks use golf carts to get back and forth to the lake. This isn’t allowed. In order to obtain a golf cart permit, you must request it. Most importantly, you must have a letter from your doctor stating that you, the homeowner, have a letter from your physician stating it is MEDICALLY NECESSARY for mobility purposes. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us and we will help you any way possible! 

2 thoughts on “Lakefront Property: FAQs About Dock Ownership”

  • carla young says:

    My husband passed away. The permit was in his name. My name is on the property deed. His is no longer. Do I need to apply for new ownership permit

    • Teresa Smith says:

      We are so sorry for your loss! To answer your question, If your name is also on the deed to your home, you will need to contact your Corps Ranger and let him or her know your situation. They will ask you to apply for a change of ownership. That way, the dock permit will be in your name instead of your husband’s name.
      Do you know who your Ranger is? If not, we can help you.

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