Property Standards

Property owners and tenants in Richmond Hill must do their part to meet property standards. Our Property Standards By-law ensures a minimum level of maintenance is applied to all properties in the community.

Who Enforces Property Standards?

The By-law and Licensing Enforcement Officers, are responsible for the enforcement of the Property Standards By-law under Municipal Code Chapter 1010.

When a property that does not meet property standards is identified, the owner is given an order listing the deficiencies and a time period to fix the issue. If the owner does not follow the order Richmond Hill may begin legal proceeding and/or complete the required work and bill the property owner through property tax for the services.

What Kind of Property Standards are There?

Richmond Hill's Property Standards By-law regulates:

Yard maintenance
All yards, including vacant lots, must be kept tidy. Under the Property Standards By-law, there are a number of things that are not allowed in your yard and should be removed, including:
  • Waste, brush and debris
  • Heavy undergrowth
  • Dead, decayed or damaged trees
  • Poisonous weeds, such as poison ivy, ragweed and poison oak
  • Long grass
  • Unusable, wrecked, dismantled, discarded or abandoned machinery, such as boats, vehicles and trailers

Learn more about acceptable maintenance of grass and weeds in Richmond Hill's Grass and Weed By-Law.

Grading, paving and surface conditions
Under the Property Standards By-law, all grading (level of the ground surrounding a building), paving and surface conditions need to be maintained to have a pleasant appearance. Proper maintenance of surface conditions also prevents soil erosion and basement flooding.

Grading, paving and surface conditions should also be designed and maintained to prevent stormwater from ponding (forming large puddles). Areas where large puddles appear regularly need to be drained and filled in.

Structural standards

The foundation, walls, beams, floors, roof slabs and balconies of a building must be structurally sound and in good repair to prevent moisture and rodents from entering the building. Doors and windows must also be in good repair. Building upkeep also helps prevent deterioration due to weather and insect infestation.

Property Standards By-law violations include:

  • Cracked exterior walls or broken masonry units
  • Deteriorated wood
  • Damaged metal siding
  • Broken or loose stucco

Chimneys must be maintained to prevent fire and other hazards, such as smoke damage or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Heating, plumbing and electrical systems must meet all government standards that apply. You must make sure that these systems are in good working condition.
Exterior lighting
Steps, walkways, loading docks and parking areas should always be well lit. Exterior lighting is especially important for industrial properties.
Fences, retaining walls and signs
Richmond Hill's Property Standards By-law also includes regulations for fences and retaining walls surrounding a property to be in good repair. Posters, signs and graffiti are not permitted and should be removed.
Vacant properties
Vacant properties must meet property standards for protection from the risk of fire, accidents and other hazardous and dangerous conditions. These properties should also be maintained to prevent people from trespassing.

Materials used to board up windows and doors must be the same colour as the exterior finish of the building.

When you are away from your property for more than 90 days you need to make sure that all utilities are properly disconnected or secured to prevent accidental damage to the building and surrounding properties.

Accessory buildings
Accessory buildings, such as sheds, need to be maintained so they don't present unsafe conditions or an unpleasant appearance. These buildings need to be:
  • In good repair
  • Constructed with the correct, uniform material
  • Placed in a proper location, according to zoning regulations
Rental properties
Tenants should be aware of property standards for their own health and safety. Maintaining property standards is your Landlord's responsibility. If you think the property you are renting does not meet Richmond Hill's property standards, speak with your Landlord and provide a letter listing your concerns. If the work to meet standards is still not completed after a reasonable amount of time, contact Richmond Hill's By-Law and Licensing Enforcement Section.