Bylaw Enforcement

Property Standards

Property standards include bylaws for public and private property including: fencing, long grass and weeds, zoning complaints, multi-residential apartment building audits and enforcement program (MRAB), rooming houses and graffiti.

Bylaws: View City of Toronto bylaws

Property standards investigation follow-up: You can follow up by telephone or email to the area you originally contacted, as well as online here.

Property issues regulated by ML&S

ExpandAbandoned Refrigerators and Appliances

abandoned refrigerator

Abandoned appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dryers present a public safety concern, especially for young children who could become trapped inside.

Under Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 659, doors and locks of abandoned appliances must be removed.

Appliances that are outside on private property and are being used are not considered abandoned.

Contact us to report an abandoned freezer, refrigerator, washing machine or other large appliance that does not have its doors removed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question

Answer

Someone left an appliance sitting at the curb in front of XX street.  The doors are still attached. Contact 311.  ML&S will respond before the end of the day to investigate and secure the appliance if necessary.

I saw a refrigerator dumped at the intersection of XX street on the boulevard.

Contact 311.  ML&S will respond the same day if the doors are still attached.  If the doors have been removed, ML&S will investigate following standard investigative procedures.

There is a fridge/freezer/dishwasher/oven with its door(s) removed sitting at the curb for garbage pick-up.  Why didn't the City pick it up?

Contact 311 to determine the reason – too close to garbage bin, etc.  Separate collection crews are used on garbage collection days.

My neighbour left his refrigerator in his back yard.  He uses it for his backyard bbqs.  I am afraid a child may get stuck in it.

We will not investigate this.  The refrigerator is being used properly so ML&S will not get involved.



ExpandClothing Drop Box Permit

Image of a clothing drop box permit

Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 395, Clothing Drop Boxes,  requires that all clothing drop boxes placed on private or public property display a permit.

  • All clothing box operators require location permits for each box.
  • Only two drop boxes will be allowed per municipal address.
  • All clothing drop box operators, including charitable organizations, must display the permit sticker (below).

The Clothing Drop Box By-law ensures that the public is aware of where used clothing donations are going, creates a registry of clothing box owners and deters litter and unsightly views for residents.

How to apply

Applicants must apply in person at the Licence & Permit Issuing Office with the following:

What you need to apply

Who can apply Individuals, partnerships or corporations.
How to apply

Applicants can apply in person at the Licence & Permit Issuing Office at East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell, 3rd floor.

Partnerships and corporations (not applicable to individuals)

Applicant must provide a business address, as well as other documents depending on the business. Documents may include articles of incorporation, corporate profiles, franchise agreements, partnership agreements and provincial name registration. 

Application fee *

$529.27 application fee + location permits for each box at a cost of $109.25

(Each year, the licensee must pay a renewal fee and a location permit fee for each box.)

View all business, trades, and profession application and renewal fees.

See possible additional fees below.**

Identification

Two pieces of government-issued identification, including:

  1. proof of work status, such as a Canadian Passport or Citizenship Card, Permanent Resident Card, Work Permit, Canadian Birth Certificate; and
  2. a valid photo ID such as a Driver's Licence, Photo Identification Card, Canadian Passport.


Note that Health Cards are not accepted.

Criminal reference checks Applicants must provide a criminal reference check issued by a Canadian Police Service within 280 days prior to the application. Learn more here.
Clothing drop box locations

Municipal address(es) of site where the clothing drop box(es) will be located.

Site plans

Site plans or surveys, identifying the location of the clothing drop box on the premises.

Letter from property owner A letter from the property owner or management company permitting the clothing drop box be erected, displayed, located or placed on the premises.
Declaration 

Applicant must sign a declaration that the clothing drop box owner has not been convicted more than three times for violations under this bylaw, and has not been charged more than three times under any section of this Chapter for which the proceedings have not been finally disposed of.

Charities, religious institutions or non-profit organizations

Applicants must advise if they are a charity, religious institution or non-profit organization.  Charities must provide their registration number.

What happens after you apply

* If the licence or permit is granted, licensees and/or permit holders will be required to pay an annual renewal fee as well as annual location fees for each box, as described in the table above.  See the Fees table.

For complete application and operating requirements, visit Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing.

Applicants must also satisfy the Business Licensing Thresholds in Appendix K. 

** Other Clothing Drop Box Fees

As mentioned above, all clothing box operators will require location permits for each box at the cost listed above per year. Other fees associated with clothing drop boxes include:

ActivityFee
Removal fee of an illegal clothing drop box $100
Retrieval of illegal clothing drop box $200
Storage of illegal clothing drop box $15 per day
Disposal fee for illegal clothing drop box $80 per disposal
If a clothing box does not have an easily visible permit sticker:
  • A notice will be posted on non-stickered boxes on municipal or private property. 
  • If the box is not removed in seven days, the City will remove it at a cost of $300, plus $15 per day storage fee, charged to the property owner.

Clothing drop boxes placed on the City’s right-of-way (streets, boulevards, sidewalks) without permission will be removed immediately. The City can revoke a permit if the property owner/operator has unpaid fines. 

ExpandGarage Sales

garage sale at private house

Property owner can have two garage sales each year. One garage sale can last two consecutive days. Once the sale is over, all signs advertising the sale must be removed.

There is no permit or licence required.

Make a complaint

Report a household that has had more than two garage sales per year.

Garage sales online self-service request

311@toronto.ca

Within Toronto:     311

Outside Toronto:  416-392-CITY (2489)

TTY customers: 416-338-0TTY (0889)

www.toronto.ca/311

Fax:   416-338-0685

 

 

ExpandGraffiti

Clean-up of graffiti on a private property is the owner's responsibility. There are two bylaws that regulate graffiti on private property:

Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629
Property Standards and Chapter 485 - Graffiti

Enforcement

When City staff enforce compliance with the graffiti bylaw they try to provide owners with as many ways as possible to comply.

A bylaw officer will educate the property owner or occupant about the issue and require graffiti removal. The officer may issue written notice. The owner is given a fixed time period that they have to comply (remove the graffiti), e.g. 72 hours. If the owner provides justifiable reason for not complying within an appropriate period of time (cannot paint when it is raining, freezing, etc.), the bylaw officer will adjust the time period.

Note: If the property owner does not comply within the specified compliance period, the City will remove the graffiti and the cost will be added to the owner's taxes.

Graffiti Definition

Graffiti is defined as one or more letters, symbols, figures, etchings, scratches, inscriptions, stains or other markings that disfigure or deface a structure or thing. It does not include an art mural. (Municipal Code, Chapter 485). 

Graffiti vandals use a variety of materials such as spray paint, crayons and permanent ink to deface property. Hobby knives and razor blades are used to cause permanent damage to glass and other surfaces.

Here are some tips to help keep graffiti off of your property:

  • Increase lighting and visibility in vulnerable areas.
  • If graffiti occurs, the quick removal is recognized as the most effective prevention of further acts of vandalism.
  • Installation security cameras
  • Re-establishment of neighborhood watch groups
  • Restriction of access to buildings and structures, i.e. fences; using protective coatings;
  • Planting climbing vines or thorny plants along building walls; and use of murals.

Removal of Graffiti

Without knowing the type of surface, its state of repair, the type of paint or other marker used, etc., it is not possible to recommend a cleaning material or process. Any advice offered that led to property damage might expose the City to legal action. Consult graffiti specialists by searching the internet or using your local business directroy, under the heading "Building Maintenance and Cleaning Exterior", for advice or assistance. 

Questions and Answers


Q: What do I do if I see graffiti vandalism on my property?

A If you find graffiti on your property, it is your responsibility to clean it up. You can either do it yourself or you can hire someone to do it for you.

Q: Can I get rid of graffiti myself?

A: Yes. The most important step to take in order to keep graffiti off of your property is to be vigilant and remove graffiti as soon as possible. See our tips for preventing and removing graffiti. The faster graffiti is removed the less likely it will reoccur. The longer graffiti stays on your property the harder it becomes to remove and the more additional graffiti it attracts.

Q: What I do if I see graffiti vandalism on another property in the City?

A: Call 311 to report the location of the graffiti or report it on line. City staff will have someone respond to the call. You can report anonymously if you wish.

Q: What is the City doing to eliminate graffiti vandalism?

A: City staff will remove graffiti on City-owned buildings, overpasses, bridges and public parks. Staff will strive to remove any hate or gang-related graffiti within a 24-hour period and all other graffiti within a 72-hour period. 

Q: Can I commission an artist to create graffiti art or a mural on my property?

A: Yes, murals and graffiti art are an effective way of deterring graffiti vandalism. The new Graffiti By-Law has been amended to reflect the new Graffiti Management Plan and to include exemptions for Graffiti art which is a legal and acceptable form of street art and is differentiated from "tagging" which is generally characterized by writing and with the act of vandalism. StreetARToronto has resources available to assist you.

ExpandLitter, Illegal Dumping of Garbage and Waste Collection

abandoned furniture

Report littering, illegal dumping or a problem with waste collection on private and public property, including parks.  

What is illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping refers to bags (including grocery bags) or large quantities of garbage or items being deposited onto public or private property without the owner’s consent.

My garbage bin is full. Is it against a City bylaw to put my garbage in a park garbage container?

Yes. If you have more garbage than will fit in your bin, you can leave extra garbage bags beside your garbage container for collection, as long as a City-issued tag is attached. Garbage bag tags can be purchased at Canadian Tire stores.

What is the fine for illegal dumping?
The fine is $365, as per the City of Toronto Parks Bylaw 548.

 

Expand "Not Enough Heat" in building/Other vital services

Vital services include fuel, hydro, gas, hot and cold water.

Heating (Minimum temperatures)

thermostat

A landlord is responsible for providing heat to a residential dwelling that is rented or leased, to a minimum air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius from September 15 to June 1.

If you have concerns about the heating in your rental unit, please speak to your landlord or property manager.  If this issue is not resolved in a timely manner, contact 311.

Condominiums

If the condo unit is owner-occupied, the City will NOT investigate a complaint about the condition of that unit.

If you are a tenant in a condo unit, contact 311.

Frequently Asked Questions Answers
There is no water/heat/electricity in my apartment.

Contact 311. The landord can only turn off heat/water etc. when absolutely necessary to repair a building or rental unit.

ML&S will investigate and take appropriate enforcement action within 24 hours.

My landlord hasn't turned on the heat/air in my building yet. My apartment is really cold/hot.

Due to considerable fluctuations of temperatures in May and early September each year, it is difficult to require landlords to provide the right level of indoor heating and cooling at all times.  Speak to your landlord; they may be able to provide temporary space heaters/fans or offer a cooling centre in the building.

From September 15-June 1, landlords are required to maintain all areas of a rental dwelling unit at a minimum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.  Contact 311; ML&S will make initial contact and investigate all low heat complaints within 24 hours, 7 days a week.

It's really hot outside, and my landlord won't turn off the heat.

The city will not investigate from September 15 – June 1 as city Bylaws require that landlords provide a minimum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius during this time.

Many heating and cooling industry members report that the heating and cooling systems in large residential complexes cannot be turned on and off easily. These systems require a set date at which they are changed over, and cannot be easily adjusted to suit variable weather throughout the month.

If the complaint is received after June 1, and before September 15, contact 311. ML&S will investigate and take appropriate action.

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) and the City's Heating Bylaw contradict as to when landlords should provide heat?  Which one applies to my landlord?

None.  The RTA enables municipalities to enact bylaws regulating vital services and to establish standards for the provision of adequate and suitable vital services.

From September 15-June 1, landlords are required to maintain all areas of a rental dwelling unit at a minimum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.  Contact 311; ML&S will make initial contact and investigate all low heat complaints within 24 hours, 7 days a week.

My building does not have air conditioning; my landlord has installed window safety devices which prevents me from opening the window more than 4 inches.  I don't have kids; none visit me.  He tells me it's the law, and I can't remove it.

None. Window safety devices are required to be installed on all windows that are more than two metres (six feet six inches) above ground, and do not lead to a balcony.

Ask your landlord about offering a cooling centre in the building, obtain a fan if possible; seek accommodation with friends or family during heat alert days.

Contact 311 if your landlord has refused to repair or install window safety devices on any windows within your dwelling unit that are 2 metres (6 feet 6 inches) above ground. ML&S will investigate and take any necessary enforcement action.

ExpandSigns and Posters on Public Property

Download a Postering 101 .pdf

Help to keep our city clean, green and beautiful – use the City’s public kiosks and message centres for your posters and signs. Toronto Municipal Code 693, Posters on Public Property regulates the placement of posters in Toronto. The City actively patrols and enforces the bylaw.

Placing any poster or sign other than a community poster on public property or in any place other than the permitted kiosks will not be permitted.

What posters can be put up on city property (e.g. utility poles)?

Posters or signs regarding community issues such as a lost pet, a yard sale or cultural and / or religious events are permitted on locations other than City-approved structures.

I run a small business – can I put my posters on telephone poles?

No. If you are running a business, please do not put posters on:

  • Utility poles
  • Traffic signs
  • Bus shelters
  • Trees
  • Street litter disposal containers

Please use the community kiosks and message boards provided by the city.

See the list of community kiosk and message board locations; or view a map overview of the locations throughout the City.

There is no message board or kiosk where I want to put up my poster. Who can I contact to recommend additional locations?

Please call 311 or e-mail suggestions to streetfurniture@toronto.ca.

What is the fine for putting up posters or signs illegally?

The fine is $490.

 

 

ExpandTrees

Forestry staff across the City of Toronto prune trees according to the following general standard:

  1. to encourage the health of a tree;
  2. to clear tree limbs and branches interfering with structures, street lighting, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, utility conductors and traffic signals or signs;
  3. to remove dead broken or split limbs; and/or
  4. to maintain structural stability and balance of a tree.

Tree work is only undertaken if deemed to be necessary according to this standard. Trees will not be pruned simply to thin out foliage.

To request removal of a tree that is dead or dying. 

Trees online self-service request

311@toronto.ca

Within Toronto:     311

Outside Toronto:  416-392-CITY (2489)

TTY customers:    416-338-0TTY (0889)

www.toronto.ca/311

Fax:   416-338-0685

ExpandWashrooms in Retail Establishments

Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards requires retail establishments to ensure that washroom facilities for their customers are made accessible and that proper signage is provided for customers. The bylaw can be viewed at toronto.ca/legdocs/bylaws/2009/law0570.pdf.

This revision affects all retail establishments required to provide washroom facilities for the public in accordance with the provisions of the Ontario Building Code or predecessor bylaw and/or other legislation (this includes any mercantile occupancy subject to a building permit since 1975).

Providing the Required Access and Signs
Retail establishments greater than 300 square metres (3230 square feet) in building area or an established occupancy load of more than nine persons are required to provide separate male and female accessible washrooms for their customers in accordance with the requirements in the Building Code. 

For retail establishments less than 300 square metres (3230 square feet) in building area or an established occupancy load of nine persons or less, the Building Code requires that at least one washroom facility for customers be provided that can be used by both sexes.

If the retail establishment is staffed by only one person, then the bylaw does not apply.

Signage Requirements
Signs with the universal symbols for male and female must be provided at the entrance to each washroom facility. Directional signs are required to be prominently displayed at customer service counters, attendant stations or cash register areas so that the location of the sanitary facilities within the building or the part of the building with a mercantile occupancy is conveyed.

Retail Establishments that Serve/Sell Food
This by-law amendment does not apply to restaurants with a seating capacity greater than 30 as these types of occupancies are not categorized as mercantile within the Building Code. These types of restaurants and any retail establishment that sells food are also governed by the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which contains additional requirements relating to washroom facilities. This Act is administered by the City's Public Health Division.