Residential Fences

A fence is a barrier that encloses an area or divides all or parts of a property.  It can include a hedge, a wall, and/or posts connected by wood, chain link or wrought iron. Hamilton’s Fence By-law No.10-142 provides the requirements for fences on residential, commercial and industrial zoned properties.

You do not need a Building Permit to construct a fence unless you are installing a swimming pool or replacing an existing pool enclosure (fence).

Speak with your neighbour(s) before you begin construction on a fence, as this may save you time, money and possible frustration. If there is a dispute between neighbours regarding a fence, the City is unable to get involved. It is a civil matter and may need to be resolved through the legal system.

Your fence can only be on your property, unless you and your adjoining neighbour(s) agree to place it directly on the shared property line. There are limitations on height and placement of fences, mainly when the fence is close to a street where there may be visibility issues that create a safety hazard for vehicles and pedestrians.

If you have a corner lot or want to put a fence in the front yard, call Municipal Law Enforcement at 905-546-2782 before putting the fence up to ensure you are aware of all regulations.

Fences built on residential and commercially zoned properties cannot exceed 2 m (6 feet 6  inches) in height. The height is usually lower in front yards and corner lots due to visibility issues for vehicles and pedestrians.

Read Hamilton’s Cost of Division Fences By-law No. 08-018 for ideas on how to discuss sharing the cost of building a fence with your neighbours.

The cost of a 122 cm (4 feet or 0.0315 inch) high chain link fence must be split 50/50 between neighbours. All other types of cost sharing for fences must be decided by property owners. The City does not get involved in how or if the costs are shared. This is a civil matter and may need to be resolved through the legal system.

The City offers a fence cost-share program for homeowners whose property abuts City park lands, district yards or recreation areas. The City pays for half the costs of a 122 cm (4 feet or 0.0315 inch) chain link fence where we want a fence or where the abutting property owner requests a fence.

If the abutting property owner wants to construct a higher or more expensive fence, the abutting property owner will have to pay the additional cost. If we require a higher or more expensive fence, we will pay the additional cost.

The maintenance of the standard 122 cm (4 feet or 0.0315 inch) chain link fence is shared on a 50/50 basis between the City and the abutting property owner. If a different type of fence is installed such as a wood fence, the person who installed this fence must assume the total cost of maintenance.

Contact Parks at 905-546-2424 ext. 2042 for more information about cost sharing with the City.

The above policy does not apply to new subdivisions, as special arrangements are made with the builder of the sub-division regarding fence installation. To learn more about fencing in new sub-divisions, call Development Engineering at 905-546-2424 ext. 2822.

Register a complaint about a fence

Although the City is unable to assist in fence discussions between neighbours, we may investigate to determine if a fence is too high or the condition of the fence is in question.

There are two ways to register a complaint about the height or condition of a fence:

  1. Fill out an online By-law Complaint Form
  2. Contact Municipal Law Enforcement:
    Phone: 905-546-2782
    Email: mle@hamilton.ca