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City of Hamilton - Planning & Economic Development

Vacant Buildings

The City of Hamilton's Vacant Building Registry By-law 10-260 requires property owners to register vacant buildings with the Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) section each year. 

MLE Officers will proactively inspect vacant buildings at least 4 times a year and will enforce violations of the City's By-laws.  To ensure public safety, property owners are responsible for complying with all applicable statutes, regulations and by-laws that include the following;

Failure to comply with all directions of this by-law will result in fines of $10,000.00 for an individual and $50,000.00 for a corporation upon first conviction and Fee for Inspection costs.

Property owners of commercial, industrial buildings and residential buildings containing 4 or more individual units must post at least one sign on the vacant building readable from all adjacent streets.  The information must be in black letters on white retro-reflective background.

Additional Information About Vacant Buildings

Q. What is considered a vacant building?
A. A building is considered vacant when it is not completely or considerably occupied for more than 90 consecutive days.

Q. When does a building need to be registered?
. All buildings (industrial, commercial, residential) must be registered after 90 days of becoming vacant or 30 days after notice from Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE). Each registration is good for a period of 1 year.

Q. Is there a fee to register my vacant building?

$262 = one time administration fee

$654 = yearly fee, initiates 4 exterior building inspections to ensure no by-law violations. A checklist provided by MLE can be used by property owners as a guide for the inspections

$319 = yearly fee for additional vacant buildings on the same property.

A renewal notice and application will be sent to all registered owners 30 days before expiry.

Q. What are my responsibilities as a property owner of a vacant building?

  • ensure the building is registered
  • ensure the property complies with by-laws, regulations and statutes.
  • post a sign with owner(s) name and contact number (exception applies to 1, 2, or 3 dwelling units)

Q. What happens if there is a by-law violation?
For Property Standards by-law (10-221) violations: An “Order to Comply” will be mailed to the owner advising of the violation(s) and the compliance date (timelines corrections are to be completed by).

For Snow Removal by-law (03-296) and Yard Maintenance by-law (10-118): An “Order to Comply” or “Notice to Comply” will be posted on site, advising of the violation(s) and the compliance date.

Failure to comply may result in additional inspection fees, provincial offence notices, and/or court action. We encourage you to contact the Officer noted on the Order if you have any questions. Potential fire and building code violations will be reported to the appropriate authority.

Vacant building registration forms are available:

  • in person at 77 James St N, Suite 250 Hamilton, Ontario
  • by calling 905-546-2782

Contact Information:

 Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
77 James Street North (Main Floor,  Suite #250)
Phone: 905-546-2782

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