Property Use By-laws

Hamilton has several by-laws that ensure properties are kept to a minimum standard. These by-laws help keep neighbourhoods clean and safe. You should be familiar with the by-laws to understand your responsibilities and avoid by-law violations.  The most commonly requested by-laws are listed below or you can read about all Hamilton By-laws.

No Hamilton residents can set off family fireworks except on Victoria Day and Canada Day weekends without a permit. You need written consent from the property owner if you intend to set off fireworks on a property that you do not own. Any person 18 years of age and over who is duly authorized under the Explosives Act (Canada) and approved as a Display Fireworks Supervisor may apply for a permit to hold a fireworks display on days other than those specified in the By-law. Call 905-546-3344 for more information about this permit. 

Read about Hamilton’s Fireworks By-law No. 02-285 (PDF, 719 KB)

If you want to build a fence on your property, you must follow the standards and guidelines set out by Hamilton’s Fence By-law and Hamilton's Fencing of Private Outdoor Swimming Pools.

Read about Hamilton’s Fence By-law No. 10-142 (PDF, 509 KB) and Hamilton's Fencing of Private Outdoor Swimming Pools By-law No. 03-125 (PDF, 390 KB)

No person can make or permit an unreasonable noise or a noise that is likely to disturb their neighbours in Hamilton. 

Read about Hamilton’s Noise Control By-law No. 11-285 (PDF, 598 KB) and exemptions for various activities.

Apply for a noise exemption permit

Are you planning an event that will not meet the regulations of the Noise Control By-law? You may apply for a noise exemption permit that will allow you to be temporarily exempt from the by-law. Complete the Noise Exemption Permit application (PDF, 19 KB) and submit in person or by fax to:

Municipal Law Enforcement
77 James Street North, Suite 250
Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 2K3
Fax: 905-540-6280

If you have a rural property, you can apply for an open air burning permit to burn clean wood or brush. 

Read about Hamilton’s Open Air Burning By-law No. 02-283 (PDF, 768 KB). 

Property owners are prohibited from using pesticides on their property within the City.

Read more about Hamilton’s Pesticides By-law No. 07-282 (PDF, 545 KB) and exemptions.

All property owners must maintain and repair the interior and exterior of their property in accordance with certain standards. These standards are put in place to protect the health and safety of occupants and the general public. 

Read about Hamilton’s Property Standards By-law No. 10-221.

Appeal a Property Standards Notice to Comply

A property owner has the right to appeal the Order to Comply to the Property Standards Appeal Committee for a decision. 

How to submit a notice to appeal

  1. Complete the Notice to Appeal (DOC, 52 KB)
     
  2. Include the non-refundable fee of $131. Cheques or money orders are payable to the City of Hamilton. Do not send cash in the mail.
     
  3. Submit any documents that support your grounds of appeal, such as photographs to:
    Janet Rutherford

    Adjudicator
    Licensing and By-Law Services
    #250 – 77 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2K3
    Email: janet.rutherford@hamilton.ca

  4. Send the completed notice and fee by registered mail or deliver in person to:
    City of Hamilton
    Office of the City Clerk
    Attention: Property Standards Committee Secretary
    71 Main Street West, 1st Floor Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5

You must not act in a way that could be considered a public nuisance. Such acts include urinating or defecating in public places and knocking over mailboxes, relay boxes, newspaper boxes, recycling boxes and waste collection containers. 

Read about Hamilton’s Public Nuisance By-law No. 09-110 (PDF, 92 KB).

You must clear all snow and ice from your sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowfall, or 24 hours after a series of snowfalls. 

Read about Hamilton’s Snow off Sidewalks By-law No. 03-296 (PDF, 162 KB).

You must ensure that standing water does not accumulate on your property between April 1 and October 31 of each year. Standing water can be a breeding area for pests, including mosquitoes, and is likely to interfere with the enjoyment of the use of private properties and public areas.

Read more about Hamilton’s Standing Water By-law No. 03-173 and exemptions (PDF, 61 KB).

Many trees on front lawns are actually on the road allowance, which is City-owned property. You must not trim, cut, remove, nail, rope, wire or fasten anything to a City-owned tree.

Read more about Hamilton’s Tree on Public Property By-law No. 15-125 (PDF, 856 KB).

Trees that are on private property are protected by by-laws based on the former municipality that you live in.

If you own a vacant building, you must register the vacant building with the City. 

Read about Hamilton’s Vacant Building Registry By-law No. 10-260

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You must not feed wildlife on your property, except for birds.  If you feed birds, the feeding must not disturb your neighbours.

Read more about Hamilton’s Wildlife By-law No. 12-130 (PDF, 152 KB).

You must keep your property clean of waste and ensure grass and weeds do not exceed 20 cm (8 inches) in height. The exterior of property needs to be free of graffiti including all buildings, structures, fence, walls and vehicles. 

Read about Hamilton’s Yard Maintenance By-law No. 10-118.

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Request to Review By-law Fee

If you are not able to meet an Order to Comply under the Yard Maintenance By-law and the Property Standards By-law you will be charged a fee by the City of Hamilton to complete the work. If you do not agree with this fee, you can submit a request to:

  • Review fees for clean-up, repair or demolition costs
  • Review file for fee(s) for inspection

How to submit a Request to Review:

  1. Complete the Request to Review (PDF, 21 KB)
     
  2. Include the non-refundable fee of $38. Cheques or money orders are payable to the City of Hamilton.
     
  3. Submit the completed request form and fee:

In person to:
Licensing & Permits Office
77 James Street North, Suite 250
Hamilton, Ontario
Accepted methods of payment: Cash, Debit Card, Visa or Mastercard

By mail to:
City of Hamilton
Attention: Municipal Law Enforcement, Licensing & Permits
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Accepted method of payment: Cheque. Do not send cash in the mail.

File review is only available to the registered Home Owner. Municipal Law Enforcement staff will not conduct a file review unless payment is made in full.