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Court Decision Regarding Residential Renovation with No Building Permit

HAMILTON, ON - The City of Hamilton continues to find circumstances of property owners who do renovations without a building permit. Building without a building permit is not only against the law, it endangers the health and lives of our citizens. Getting a building permit keeps all citizens safe by ensuring that buildings are constructed to a safe and healthy standard. A recent verdict was issued on November 27, 2018 regarding four charges laid against two Hamilton homeowners identifying how important this is to our community. 

Property owners, Tony and Rosa Spadafora, were each charged with failing to have a building permit and failing to comply with an Order to Comply, totalling four charges, under the Ontario Building Code Act sec. 8.(1) & 12.(2). In this case, the owners proceeded with the construction without the lawfully required building permit and subsequently failed to Comply with an Order issued for 10 Philomena Drive in Hamilton.

“We want to work with and support homeowners to make sure that renovations meet the regulatory requirements so as to protect public health. By not having the appropriate permits, inspections and approvals, property owners run the risk of significant and severe fines and further leave unapproved construction to unsuspecting future owners. This also can have a long term effect on the property that could include difficulties with future real-estate transactions, mortgage and financing issues and significant issues for purchasers who end up with the cost of repairs,”

Ed VanderWindt, Chief Building Official, City of Hamilton

On August 19, 2015, the City of Hamilton Building Division investigated a complaint at 10 Philomena Drive of possible construction without a building permit. The City discovered a second storey addition, above the existing attached garage without the required building permit, inspections or approval.

Enforcement proceedings ensued with the issuance of an Order to Comply (dated August 21, 2015) for construction without the benefit of a Building Permit. Several months lapsed, without contact or correspondence from the owners of the property, which prompted a proactive letter advising of the repercussions of not complying with the Order to Comply.  A further disregard for compliance with an Order resulted in legal action on January 5, 2016. 

Several aggravating factors that were considered by the court, in the final decision:

  • More than 3 years passed since the violation was identified to the property owners with no attempt at compliance
  • The defendants did not take responsibility early in the proceedings and waited more than two years before entering pleas
  • There remained no compliance and the defendants did not show a good faith effort to work towards compliance
  • Initially during the investigative stage, there was denial of the construction
  • When the Order to Comply was posted on the property, it was removed by property owner

The final decision of the court was: fines totalling $14,000 plus Prohibition Orders requiring the owners to obtain a building permit within 90 days.

When planning a construction or renovation project, homeowners are reminded that it is always best to contact your local municipality for a clear understanding of the planning and development process and requirements.

For more information on Building Permits and other building matters, visit