Property Standards

The following is a brief and legal summary of the City of Markham's Property Standards By-law taken from the City's By-law Guide for Markham Homeowners.

It explains, in plain language and with information links, what residents must know about specific City services and operations, which may affect a Markham homeowners' property.

Property Standards By-law Summary

In Brief

Markham’s beautiful neighbourhoods are a source of pride for residents. The Property Standards By-law (248-1999) ensures that owners properly maintain their homes and properties so that our neighbourhoods will always be attractive, safe and healthy places in which to live. These rules apply to both owned and rented dwellings.

What You Must Know

The yard around every home must be kept neat and tidy, and free of garbage or anything that might cause a health or safety danger. The earth must be covered with either grass and plants or a covering that is designed to stop the soil from blowing or draining away. Grass must be trimmed to grow no higher than 15 centimetres  (6”). Trees and bushes must also be kept trimmed and tidy.

  • If you have a hedge, or row of bushes, it must be located in a way that is safe for people walking or driving by. Hedges, trimmed to less than 1 metre (3’) high, are allowed anywhere on your property.
  • Working appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, may be stored outside only on a porch or deck, and must be securely locked. You must also remove any self-latching or self-locking feature that might cause a small child to become trapped inside. Fences, gates and retaining walls need to be free of barbed wire, and must not be built in a location where they might pose a hazard to people walking or driving past. Fences, detached garages and all accessory buildings must be structurally sound. See Fences By-law Summary, for more information about creating fences.
  • Vehicles, such as cars, trucks or motorcycles that are not in working condition can’t be stored on a driveway. You may use the driveway to do repairs to a single vehicle that you own, but while it is parked there it must not be used for storage of any kind. See Extended Driveways By-law Summary and Noise By-law Summary for more information about driveways and vehicles.
  • Outside lights 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. Make sure all your lights do not shine directly into neighbouring properties.
  • All walkways (including public paths across your property), driveways, stairs or ramps, patios, decks, and parking areas must be well kept with no holes or uneven spots. If they are commonly used at night they must be well lit; if commonly used during the winter, they must have snow and ice cleared from them. For both safety and ease of access in an emergency, all snow and ice must also be cleared from hydrants located on your property.

Waste Management and Storage

The side or back of your property is suitable for neatly stored supplies, such as firewood, building materials and gardening equipment. Unsafe or large, unattractive piles of materials must be removed. Temporary storage of materials from ongoing construction work on your property is allowed, but this must not exceed 15% of your back or side yard. You must ensure that you clear out this area as often as possible, and that the materials are kept in such a way that they do not pose a health or safety risk.

If you own a composter or compost heap, keep it in such a condition that it does not smell strongly and will not attract insects or rodents such as mice or rats. See Waste Management By-law Summary for more information about garbage removal and Mission Green).

Sewage and Drainage

Your home’s plumbing is designed to carry waste and water from toilets, sinks and tubs safely underground, and must not be altered so that this waste pours onto the surface of your yard.

Water coming off your roof must be made to drain away from your house and off your property, but not onto sidewalks, stairs or a neighbour’s property. Make sure the downspout drains into a paved channel or is extended along the ground to drain at least 1.2 metres (4’) away from the side of your home. See Standing Water By-law Summary and Site Alteration By-law Summary for more information about water drainage.

Keep your roof repaired so that it is watertight and remove dangerous amounts of snow or ice. Make sure that eavestroughs, gutters and downspouts, and any sewer openings on your property, are cleared and in good repair.

Maintaining a Dwelling

The City requires that every part of a home or apartment, inside and outside, be kept well repaired and structurally sound so that the house is safe, watertight and free of rodents and insects at all times.

The exterior must be kept 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 16ºC (62ºF) at night, from 11:00 PM until 6:00 AM the next morning, and 20ºC (68ºF) between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

Step By Step

  • Maintaining Exterior Walls: The visible surface of all exterior walls must be finished with materials commonly used, or designed to be used, as building components. Unsightly markings, stains or other defacement must be removed; all patching and repairs must be made with the same or visually similar materials to blend with the existing materials, or painted to blend in.
  • Structural Soundness: If a By-law Officer believes a building is not in an adequate structural condition, examination by an Ontario-licensed, professional engineer may be ordered.
  • Heating: Determining the adequate heating of a home is done by measuring the temperature 1.5 metres (5’) above floor level and 91 centimetres (3’) from exterior walls in every habitable room, including the bathrooms.
  • Clearing Snow and Ice: If a patio or deck is the only access to a home or accessory apartment, it must be cleared of snow and ice throughout the winter months.
  • Workmanship Standards: All repairs must be made to a standard that would be accepted as good workmanship in the respective building trades, using materials that are suitable and sufficient for the purpose.
  • Windows, Doors & Screens: If screens are provided, they must be kept in good repair so they effectively keep out insects. Defective or missing door and window hardware and glass must be repaired; all parts of the doors and windows, including weather stripping, must be in good, effective repair.

When in doubt, check it out! Help is always available.

For more information call the By-law Enforcement and Licensing Department at  905-479-7782 or email customerservice@markham.ca.

Related information: