Rental Property By-laws
If you rent a unit in a house or apartment, you need to know your rights and what you and your landlord are responsible for. You need to be aware of your responsibilities are under Hamilton’s by-laws.
Property owners and landlords of residential rental units are required to supply adequate and suitable heat from September 15 to May 15 of each year. Temperatures must be at least 20 C (68F) in all spaces where people live. The heat must be supplied by a safe, operable and permanent heating appliance capable of maintaining these temperatures.
Read more about Hamilton’s Heat By-law No. 04-091
No person can make or permit an unreasonable noise or a noise that is likely to disturb their neighbours in Hamilton.
Read more about Hamilton’s Noise Control By-law and exemptions for various activities.
Landlords are responsible for smoke alarm maintenance in residential rental units. Landlords must:
- Take action when a tenant or occupant reports a problem or files a complaint about a smoke alarm not working or not working properly.
- Have a testing and maintenance schedule for smoke alarms. The testing can only be carried out with full co-operation of tenants or occupants, since access to the smoke alarm must be available. Lease agreements should include provisions for access to the unit for testing and maintenance.
Unless it is an emergency, the Residential Tenancies Act requires that landlords give 24 hours written notice to enter a tenant’s premises. The time of entry must be between 8 am and 8 pm.
View the Office of the Fire Marshal Guidelines for the Maintenance of Smoke Alarms.
If you have a rural property, you can apply for an open air burning permit to burn clean wood or brush.
If you have an urban property, the Fire department must inspect your property to make sure it will not be a nuisance or risk to neighbouring properties before you can get a permit .
Read more about Hamilton’s Open Air Burning By-law No. 02-283
Property owners are prohibited from using pesticides on their property within the City.
Read more about the Pesticides By-law No. 07-282 and exemptions to it.
No person is permitted to act in a way that could be considered a public nuisance. Such acts include: urinating or defecating in public places, knocking over mailboxes ,relay boxes, newspaper boxes, recycling boxes and waste collection containers.
Read more about Hamilton's Public Nuisance By-law No. 20-077
Every owner or occupant of land shall ensure that standing water does not accumulate on the land between April 1 and October 31 of each year. Standing water can be a breeding area for insect pests, including mosquitoes, and therefore is likely to interfere with the enjoyment of the use of private properties and public areas and by members of the public.
Read more about Hamilton's Standing Water By-law No. 03-173 and exemptions to it
The Vital Services By-law deals with utility shut off (fuel, electricity or gas) in rental units.
The By-law helps protect tenants and may assist you if you rent and:
Your landlord is responsible for the utility payments as part of your lease or rent agreement
Your utility has been or is about to be shut off because your landlord has not paid the utility bill they are responsible for.
If you meet the above conditions, this By-law may allow the City of Hamilton to pay monthly utility bills so that the utilities can be temporarily turned back on. This By-Law does not apply if you agreed to pay the utility bills for a vital service (fuel, electricity or gas) in your lease.
Responsibilities of landlords and utility suppliers
If the landlord is responsible for paying for vital services such as fuel, electricity or gas as part of a lease agreement, they must provide an adequate suitable supply of these vital services to each of their rental units.
The landlord cannot end a vital service except when necessary to change or repair the rental unit and they can only end the vital service for the least amount of time necessary to correct the problem.
The supplier of fuel, electricity or gas cannot legally stop providing the vital service to a rental unit unless they give the City 30 days written notice of a discontinuance of the vital service.
If your electrical or gas service has been turned off and you need to use other methods to heat or cook, follow these safety tips to prevent a fire.
Read more about Hamilton’s Vital Services By-law No. 09-190
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
Your rental agreement should say who is responsible for maintaining the property according to the following property by-laws.
All property owners must maintain and repair the interior and exterior of their property in accordance with the Property Standards By-law. These standards are put in place to protect the health and safety of occupants and the general public.
The By-law addresses the physical building itself and areas on and around the land or property. Areas include:
- Doors and windows
- Interior stairs
- Floors and walls
- Exterior walls and roofs
- Eaves troughs and downspouts
- Balconies, porches and exterior stairs
- Fences, barriers, and retaining walls
- Garages and sheds
The property owner must make sure all violations of Hamilton’s Property Standards By-law No.10-221 are corrected. In some cases, the property occupants may have to correct the violation. The rental agreement should say who is responsible to make repairs.
Read more about Hamilton’s Property Standards By-law No. 10-221
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 Removal By-law No. 03-296
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
The Yard Maintenance By-law requires every property owner and possibly tenants to:
- keep their property clear of waste
- ensure grass and weeds do not exceed 20 cm (8 inches) in height
- keep the exterior of the property free of graffiti including all buildings, structures, fences, walls and vehicles
Responsibilities of property owners and tenants
The property owner is responsible for making sure the conditions of the By-law are met. Check your lease agreement to see if you are responsible for any property maintenance.
Read more about Hamilton's Property Maintenance By-law No. 10 -118