By-law Violations & Appeals
Municipal law enforcement officers investigate all complaints to determine if there is a by-law violation. If no violation is found, the file is closed.
If a violation is found, the officer posts an Order to Comply or mails a Notice to Comply. The Order or Notice to Comply includes:
- a list of violations
- what needs to be done by the property owner and/or occupants to correct the violation
- specific time frame for work to be completed
- name and contact information of the investigating officers
The officer does another inspection after the deadline listed on the Order or Notice to Comply. If no action has been taken, the officer may:
- Issue a ticket to either the property owner(s) or occupant(s)
- Charge a fee for inspection. The property owner is responsible for this fee that is added to the property taxes.
- Send a contractor, working on behalf of the City, to bring the property into compliance. The property owner is responsible for these costs that are added to property taxes.
The property owner(s), occupant(s) and the officer named on the Order or Notice to Comply must have good communication to avoid costly fines.
Did you know?
A property owner has the right to appeal the Order to Comply to the Property Standards Appeal Committee for a decision.
City of Hamilton Property Standards Committee Appeal Process (Property Standards By-law No. 10-221)
Composition and Function of the Property Standards Committee
- The Property Standards Committee hears appeals from Orders issued under the Property Standards By-law No. 10-221 respecting properties that do not meet minimum property standards set out in the By-law.
- The Committee is composed of five citizens who are not members of City of Hamilton Council or officers or employees of the City.
- When conducting a hearing, the members of the Committee act as an autonomous and independent administrative tribunal. The City is one of the two adversarial parties before the Committee in any hearing, the other being the owner who may be the registered owner, the person receiving rent, or an occupant responsible for repair and maintenance.
- After holding a hearing, the Committee may confirm, modify or quash the Order and/or extend the time for complying with the Order issued under the Property Standards By-law.
- An Appeal Notice may be filed by a property owner, an agent authorized by the property owner or an occupant. The Appeal Notice is available online(File, 54 KB) or in person at the Office of the City Clerk, 71 Main Street West, First Floor.
- An Appeal Notice must be sent by registered mail or personally delivered to the Legislative Coordinator (Secretary to the Property Standards Committee) on or before the appeal deadline date set out in the Order to Comply. The appeal deadline requires that the Notice of Appeal be filed within 14 days after being served with the Order (being within 14 days after the Order is served personally or within 19 days after the Order is sent by registered mail).
- A non-refundable appeal fee of $159.33 ($141 plus HST) must accompany the Appeal Notice. Please make all cheques or money orders payable to the City of Hamilton. Do not send cash in the mail.
- Where the Legislative Coordinator determines that the Appeal Notice is incomplete (e.g. missing reasons for the appeal or the fee), the Legislative Coordinator will not accept the appeal.
- Where the Legislative Coordinator determines that the Appeal Notice is late, the Legislative Coordinator will not accept the appeal.
- Where the Appeal Notice is late and the appeal not accepted, Motion to the Property Standards Committee seeking an extension of time for filing the appeal will only be accepted by the Legislative Coordinator in circumstances where section 27 of the Building Code Act, 1992 applies.
- Upon receipt of an Appeal Notice, the Legislative Coordinator will send a Hearing Notice to the Appellant by registered mail at least 21 days prior to the hearing.
- The Hearing Notice includes the date, time and location of the hearing, and advises the Appellant that the matter may be heard and decided by the Committee in their absence if they do not attend the hearing.
- Hearings are held at the Hamilton City Hall on the first Monday of the month as needed (may vary). The start time is 9:30 am unless otherwise indicated on the Hearing Notice.
1. At least 14 days in advance of the hearing, the City of Hamilton Representative, who attends the hearing in support of the Order, will send a disclosure package to the Appellant, which may include the following:
- A copy of the title search showing ownership of the property.
- A copy of the signed order.
- A copy of the signed courtesy letter sent to the Appellant (if applicable).
- A copy of the witnesses’ notes.
- A copy of the photographs taken by the witnesses during inspections.
- A copy of any relevant maps, drawings or other documents.
- A list of any additional material that may be used at the hearing such as additional photographs of the property.
- A request for disclosure from the Appellant including a deadline date.
2. If the Appellant has any material, such as documents or photographs, that they wish to use during the hearing, the Appellant will disclose the information/document(s) to the City of Hamilton Representative at least 14 days in advance of the hearing, or as requested in the disclosure package.
3. Despite section 1 and 2, if either the City of Hamilton Representative or the Appellant brings forward material that has not been disclosed to the other party in accordance with those sections, the Chair of the Committee may recess the hearing to allow the other party to review the material. When the hearing resumes, the other party will be given the opportunity to state any objections to the use of the material during the hearing. The Committee will decide, based on the submissions of the parties, whether or not the material may be referred to or introduced into evidence.
An Agenda is available to the public at the hearing or at the Office of the City Clerk, 71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, City Hall, 3 business days in advance of the hearing.
The Appellant may choose to be represented by a lawyer or an agent (who, in accordance with the Law Society Act and its regulations may provide representation), or may be self-represented.
1. All Appellants and/or their representatives must sign in.
2. The Chair will call the meeting to order and ask if there is anyone in attendance wishing to record/broadcast the hearings. In accordance with the Committee’s Recording and Broadcasting Policy, a hearing before the Committee may not be recorded/broadcast unless prior permission has been given by the Committee or any exemptions listed in the Policy apply.
3. The Legislative Coordinator will advise of any changes to the Agenda. The Committee will approve the Agenda.
4. The Chair will ask Committee members if they have any conflicts of interest.
5. The Chair will ask the City of Hamilton Representative, who sits at one of two tables facing the Committee, whether there are any requests for adjournment or Orders that have been complied with. The Committee may deal with these matters first.
6. The Chair will state the municipal address of the property for which the appeal is being heard and the Appellant will take a seat at the unoccupied table facing the Committee.
7. Hearings of the Committee are open to the public and documents which are submitted to the Committee will form part of the public record. If you will be providing any information about intimate personal or financial matters, advise the Committee at the start of the hearing. The Committee will decide, having regard to both the interests of any person affected and the principle that hearings be open to the public, whether or not the hearing will be open or closed to the public.
8. The City of Hamilton Representative will present its case first. An opening submission may be made.
9. The City of Hamilton Representative will call their witness(es). Once called, a witness is seated at the witness table and is affirmed.
10. At the conclusion of the testimony of each of the City of Hamilton Representative’s witness(es), the Appellant and then the Committee may ask their own questions of the witness(es).
11. After the City of Hamilton Representative has called all of their witnesses, the Appellant may make an opening submission and call their witnesses who may be the Appellant themselves and/or other witnesses. Again, once called, a witness is seated at the witness table and affirmed.
12. At the conclusion of the testimony of each of the Appellant’s witness(es), the City of Hamilton Representative and then the Committee may ask their own questions of the witness(es).
13. The Appellant and then the City of Hamilton Representative will make final submissions. The final submissions should include what each party is requesting of the Committee with respect to confirming, modifying or rescinding the Order and/or extending the time for complying with Order.
14. The Committee may retire to deliberate in the absence of the public, the City of Hamilton Representative and the Appellant. The Legislative Coordinator will retire with the Committee to record its decision.
1. The Committee renders its decision on the matter in the presence of the public, the City of Hamilton Representative and/or designate and the Appellant. If the Committee determines that additional information is required to render a decision, it may adjourn the matter to a future meeting date.
2. In its decision, the Committee may confirm, modify or quash the Order and/or extend the time for complying with Order.
3. A copy of the decision including the reasons for the decision of the Committee will be sent to the Appellant by Registered Mail.
Rule 001-2002: Review of Whole or Part of Decisions or Orders
Pursuant to section 21.2 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. S.22 as amended, the Committee adopts the following rule:
Purpose: The intent of this rule generally is that it should aid the Property Standards Committee in carrying out its statutory mandate with a fair, open and accessible process for conducting reviews of decisions and orders, and in particular to help avoid errors or injustice to the parties as might occur in the whole or part of orders or decisions previously made by the Committee whether by reason of errors, misunderstanding of evidence or submissions, new evidence or such other sufficient reason as might be brought to the attention of the Committee after conclusion of a hearing.
(a) Where the Property Standards Committee considers it advisable, the Committee may upon notice to the parties of a hearing, hold a review into all or part of its prior decision or order, and may confirm, modify, suspend or cancel its own decision or order.
(b) Subject to paragraph (n) of this rule, any party to a decision or order may request a review.
(c) A request for a review by a party shall be in writing, and shall state the reasons for requesting a review, specify the relief or decision requested, and where practical attach evidence in support of the request.
(d) Where the Property Standards Committee decides to schedule a review hearing, the Legislative Coordinator shall cause notice of a review hearing to be sent to the original parties, and the notice may attach a party’s request for a review, or state grounds or issues for review as proposed by the Property Standards Committee, as the Committee may consider helpful to assist the parties in identifying the purpose of the review.
(e) A review under this rule shall take place within a reasonable time after the decision or order is made.
(f) For the purpose of this rule, a reasonable time shall be deemed to be three months from the date of the Committee’s prior decision or a time within the period for compliance with the order under review whichever period is longer, in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
(g) Unless there has been a change of membership or availability of Committee members resulting from illness, death, disqualification, resignation, or replacement of one or more of the members of the Committee, the composition of the Property Standards Committee for a review hearing under this rule shall be the same members who heard the appeal which resulted in the decision or order under review.
(h) Subject to paragraph(i) of this rule, at a review hearing under this rule the Property Standards Committee shall give the parties an opportunity to present evidence, be represented and otherwise participate in the same manner as in an appeal of an order, as to whether the decision or order made at a prior hearing should be upheld, varied, suspended or cancelled, and shall have the same powers to conduct or continue a hearing and make a decision in the absence of the parties.
(i) The Property Standards Committee may limit the review hearing to a particular part or parts of its decision or order that is under review, and further, the Committee may decide to conduct the review hearing in two parts:
- Firstly, to hear the parties present and consider their evidence as to whether the review is being conducted in a reasonable time, and based on their finding on that issue decide whether or not to carry out the review; and
- Secondly, where the Committee has decided to continue the review under sub-paragraph (1) above, to hear the parties present and consider their evidence as to whether the prior order or decision should be confirmed, modified, suspended or cancelled.
(j) The parties to a review or the Property Standards Committee may refer to the record of a prior hearing for the purpose of this rule.
(k) Subject to paragraph (l) of this rule, the decision or order of the Property Standards Committee at a review hearing under this rule, is subject to appeal to a court under the Building Code Act, S.O. 1992, c. 23 as amended.
(l) The failure of the Property Standards Committee to conduct a review under paragraph (a) of this rule or the decision of the Committee not to continue a review under sub-paragraph (i)(1) of this rule, shall not be a decision subject to appeal.
(m) Nothing in this rule pertains to or affects the ability of the Property Standards Committee to exercise its powers to correct errors under section 21.1 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.
(n) The Property Standards Committee will consider only one request to review a decision or order per party.
How to submit a notice to appeal
- Complete the Notice to Appeal(File, 54 KB)
- Include the non-refundable fee of $159.33. Cheques or money orders are payable to the City of Hamilton. Do not send cash in the mail.
Submit any documents that support your grounds of appeal, such as photographs to:
- Janet Rutherford
Hearing/Tribunal Prosecutor & Policy Analyst
Licensing and By-Law Services
#250 – 77 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2K3
- Send the completed notice and fee by registered mail or deliver in person to:
City of Hamilton
Office of the City Clerk
Attention: Property Standards Committee Secretary
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
This information is intended to provide an outline of the appeal process before the Property Standards Committee for Appellants. It is not a comprehensive description of the appeal process and the appeal process for each hearing may vary depending on the circumstances.
In addition to the Property Standards By-law No. 10-221, the appeal process is governed by the Building Code Act, 1992, the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and the Rule enacted by the Property Standards Committee
Yard Maintenance By-law 10-118: addresses exterior property maintenance
- Long grass and weeds (do not exceed 20cm or 8 inches in height)
- Garbage and debris
- Dog feces (accumulation in yards)
- Inoperative vehicle (unable to operate, does not have a current permit)
- illegal dumping
- Removal of snow and ice off sidewalks surrounding properties within 24 hours of a snow event
- Removal of snow and ice that builds up on roofs/eaves that overhang the city sidewalk
- Place or throw snow and ice on the road or boulevard is a violation
- Trees on Public Property By-law 06-151
- Trees on Private Property (Ancaster, Dundas, Stoney Creek)
- Woodlands Conservation Regional By-law R00-054
- Eating Establishments, Food Shops
- Refreshment Vehicles
- Mobile (taxi cab, transient trader)
- Public Garage
- Places of Amusement (arcades, rides, carnivals, bingo etc)
- Skilled Trade (plumber, building repairs, heating, ventilation, fire and sprinkler protection and air conditioning)
- Miscellaneous (flea market, pet shops, pawnbrokers, salvage yards etc)
- Liquor Licensing
- The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates the sale, service and consumption of alcohol beverages. For more information on Liquor Licence Applications, Temporary Extension Permits and Special Occasion Permits please visit www.agco.on.ca
- Break Open Tickets, 50/50, Raffles
- Signs By-law and Issuance of Sign Permits
- Sign and Poster Kiosk Information
Property Standards By-law 10-221: addresses health and safety standards for a building and the land around the property.
- Plumbing, Electrical
- Stairs, Floors, Walls, Roofs
- Doors, Windows
- Fences, Retaining Walls, Barriers
- Garages, Sheds
Fence By-law 10-142 addresses allowed heights, locations, materials etc.
Zoning By-law 05-200 addresses legal usage of land (residential, industrial, commercial)
- A team of Officers doing proactive investigations for Yard Maintenance, Property Standards and Zoning By-laws in wards 1 through 8.
If you are not able to meet an Order to Comply under the Yard Maintenance By-law and the Property Standards By-law you will be charged a fee by the City of Hamilton to complete the work. If you do not agree with this fee, you can submit a request to:
- Review fees for clean-up, repair or demolition costs
- Review file for fee(s) for inspection
How to submit a Request to Review:
- Complete the Request to Review(PDF, 39.31 KB)
- Include the non-refundable fee of $42. Cheques or money orders are payable to the City of Hamilton.
- Submit the completed request form and fee:
In person to:
Licensing & Permits Office
330 Wentworth St N.
Hamilton, Ontario L8L 5W3
Accepted methods of payment: Cash, Debit Card, Visa or Mastercard
By mail to:
City of Hamilton
Attention: Municipal Law Enforcement, Licensing & Permits
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Accepted method of payment: Cheque. Do not send cash in the mail.
File review is only available to the registered Home Owner. Municipal Law Enforcement staff will not conduct a file review unless payment is made in full.