How Does Your Property Measure Up to Your Municipality’s Property Standards Bylaw?

Published October 1, 2013

Increasingly, property standards bylaws are becoming more about how your property looks rather than whether it is safe. Do you have an old couch or a kitchen chair on your front porch? Do you store your recycling receptacles in your front yard? Do you have an owl on your property? These and other similar infractions could put you on the wrong side of an over-zealous bylaw officer.

Two weeks ago, City of Ottawa staff released a report recommending that the Property Standards Bylaw be amended to include the banning of green bins (for organics), and black and blue bin recyclable receptacles from front yards. Now admittedly the City decided not to approve these measures after a large public outcry. But imagine the gall of insisting that citizens separate their recyclables into separate boxes and put their organic waste in yet another bin, and then tell us where we can and can’t place those receptacles.

The notion of banning all indoor furniture from being used outdoors apparently stems from the practice of university students putting old couches and such on front porches in the Sandy Hill area of Ottawa. Talk about overkill! Since this amendment was voted down but was replaced with the rules that all furniture kept outdoors must be clean and they are considering having bylaw officers patrol the university neighbourhood. And this is what some Sandy Hill residents want.
Like many of the clauses in the Property Standards Bylaw, this one leaves the door wide open for abuse. Far too often, the City is being asked to intervene in neighbour on neighbour disputes. One of the City’s councillors reported that Ottawa has the highest number of neighbour on neighbour complaints of any major city in North America.

Folks, if you have something in your yard that you think a bylaw officer might not like (or even if you don’t), take a picture of it and date it. Because we all know, bylaws can’t go backwards, they can only go forwards from the date they became law.
Oh … and about that owl in your yard. Check your local property standards bylaw closely. In the City of Ottawa, owls are considered to be “vermin”.

6 Responses to “How Does Your Property Measure Up to Your Municipality’s Property Standards Bylaw?”

  1. C Jacobsen July 11, 2017

    I also agree that people have a right to live but again that does not entitle them to degrade our neighborhood. I am sick and tired of people not caring or maintaining their properties. We pay enough in property taxes…people should be warned and then fined should they not clean or maintain their properties. It is very upsetting…as I say there goes the neighborhood we worked so hard to maintain.

  2. Marion Staples April 28, 2014

    Forget about the Line Fence Act of Ontario being of any use in Ottawa unless you live on a farm. Toronto, however, is more pro-active. It applies this act in the city itself to resolve problems where owners have disputes over fences.

  3. Guest April 25, 2014

    The one by-law that I find offensive is the one where your neighbour has say in the fence you pay and put up. Putting the good side facing the street makes sense, but why does my neighbour get the good side even if he does not pay a cent. I have had the unfinished side for over 40 years. I wish there was a way with doing away with this one. Originally, the good side was on the neighbour’s side to prevent them from using those half way boards for climbing over and robbing you.

  4. Guest April 24, 2014

    Where can I get information on how to start proceedings to have a line fence replaced according to the Line Fence Act of Ontario because it is falling over. In addition, this fence needs to be extended beyond where it is now since our front doors are within approx. 8 feet of one another. These neighbors have installed an above grade interlocking stone walkway and poured a narrow concrete strip to keep it in place. This strip will hinder putting this extension of fence in line with the already existing one. Apparently these people do not have a survey, Are they allowed to obstruct the path of a line fence with cemented metal poles from a previously attempted illegal fence which were subsequently cut down as well as this concrete? Help, please!

  5. Guest April 24, 2014

    Property standard by-laws in my area are not enforced automatically (Elmvale Acres). One must call every time. That being said, the offenders keep on offending since there is no followup. Repairs to the outside of houses are inadequately executed and remain as eyesores to neighbour whose windows open up to the these. Garbage bins remain outside.on the front lawn. Thanks to those who vetoed the by-law. Indoor furniture is left outside basement apartments so that people can smoke on the driveway. .I realize that people have the right to live, but does that entitle them to degrade your neighbourhood? It seems that that is the way here.

  6. Denis Cardinal November 30, 2013

    Hello My apt building is not being managed properly by Sleepwell management The heating never worked properly its freezing in here again this season like it has for the last 8 winters.All the windows need to be replaced Who can i get in contact with.Thank you

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