The City or Town you choose to live in should be beautiful and a source of pride for not only you, but all of its residents. Although beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, municipalities impose a set of rules as to how owners are to maintain their homes and properties so that our neighbourhoods remain attractive, safe and healthy places in which to live. The Town of Markham’s Property Standards By-law (248-1999) containing these rules (please ask Andrea Kelly about the by-law(s) for other cities or towns, if desired) covers, for example, requirements regarding:
- the yard around every home being kept neat and tidy, and free of garbage or anything that might cause a health or safety danger;
- earth coverings (i.e. grass, plants, etc.), including the maximum height of 15 cm (6 “) for grass;
- the state of trees, hedges or rows of bushes;
- where and how working appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, must be stored if outside;
- the location and state of fences, gates and retaining walls;
- the structural soundness of fences, detached garages and all accessory buildings;
- a prohibition against storage of vehicles not in working condition on a driveway;
- repairs of vehicles on driveways;
- outside lights, which must be kept within the boundaries of your yard and in a safe, working condition; security lights of no more than 100 watts must be shielded; all of your lights must not shine directly into neighbouring properties;
- the state of walkways, driveways, stairs or ramps, patios, decks and parking areas, all of which must have no holes or uneven spots and be cleared of snow and ice if commonly used in the winter;
- waste management and storage, including if you own a composter or compost heap, it must be in such a condition that it does not smell strongly and will not attract insects or rodents such as mice or rats;
- sewage and drainage, including that your home’s plumbing must be such that the waste from toilets, sinks and tubs is carried safely underground and must not be altered so that this waste pours onto the surface of your yard; and
- the maintenance of a dwelling, inside and outside, which must be well repaired and structurally sound so as to be safe, watertight and free of rodents and insects at all times; the exterior is to be in “good repair” and painted or maintained so it looks “attractive”; windows must either be double glazed (two panes of glass) or fitted with a second, storm window in cold weather; the temperature in the home must be a minimum of 160C (620F) at night, from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, and 200C (680F) between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
For further information regarding Markham`s by-law, including penalties for non-compliance, call 905-479-7782 or email [email protected]. Please contact Andrea P. Kelly if you wish assistance to confirm the property standards for another city or town.