Learn more about May's By-Law of the Month 

fence by-law

A by-law is a rule or law that is put in place by the City of Timmins to ensure that our community remains safe and orderly. The City of Timmins Enforcement Services Division is responsible for enforcing our by-laws. Staff enforce by-laws by investigating complaints and responding to the concerns of citizens.

Each month, we'll explore a different by-law and what it means for you. This month, we're looking at the City's Fence Regulation By-law 2011-7128.

My Side of the Fence

The expense of a fence can be worth it if you’re looking to add to your home’s security, add more privacy from prying eyes, or protect kids and pets at play. The City of Timmins by-law 2011-7128 regulates the construction and maintenance of fences to ensure they don’t obstruct sight lines or visibility for motorists and pedestrians when they’re built in the front yard. There’s also consideration given to zoning by-laws, encroaching onto City-owned lands, and the types of materials used when building a fence. The good news is, you don’t need a permit to construct a fence on your property.

Generally, your fence cannot encroach or intrude on City-owned lands. It can’t block visibility along a roadway or sidewalk. Fences cannot be electrified, unless you’ve installed invisible pet fencing. Residential fences installed in the front yard from your front property line to your front building line cannot be more than 3 feet high unless it’s made out of a material like chain link, in which case it can’t be more than 5 feet.

Jump In!

Pools have their own fence requirements for safety. If you have a pool, you are required to build a fence around the pool at least 4 feet high and be located at a distance not less than 5 feet from the swimming pool. The fence around your pool must have a gate that can be locked and be built out of materials that prevent climbing. The by-law also covers hot tubs and, while you don’t need a fence around a hot tub, you will need to made sure that it’s covered and locked in place when it’s not in use.

There are exceptions to the pool fence rule. If you have an above-ground swimming pool where the sides of the pool and deck are the same or greater than 4 feet, you don’t need a fence. The sides and any deck assembly should be constructed to prevent climbing and any ladder or stairs used to access the pool or deck should be able to be locked or latched in a position that prevents entry to the pool.

Construction Materials

The by-law states that your fence should be maintained without visible deterioration. The surface should be painted, stained, varnished or protected with a finish that offers protection against deterioration, or made with a material like cedar that offers protection against deterioration.

Acceptable materials include wood, wire, brick, or similar materials. Fences cannot be made out of sheet metal or corrugated metal.

Whose Side is it Anyway?

Fences can be built on or within your property line. You have the legal right to construct a fence right on the property line, but you run the risk of sharing ownership with your neighbour. You neighbour has the same legal right. The best location for your new fence is on your side of the property just inside the boundary line.

If a fence is built along a boundary between properties, it’s called a line fence. If you anticipate a problem with your neighbor, it is strongly recommended that the fence is built inside the property line to avoid any disputes. Ontario’s Line Fences Act provides a dispute resolution procedure to mediate between two neighbours when there is no current fence between properties and one owner wants to construct a new fence. Or, when a line fence already exists and one owner believes it needs to be repaired or rebuilt.

If Enforcement Services gets a complaint about your fence, you may be served with a notice to make modifications to the fence to bring it into compliance with the City’s Fence By-Law. The City doesn’t get involved with issues between private property owners beyond enforcing standards set out in our Fence By-Law. Disputes like a fence being across a property line need to be remedied through civil action.

Our By-Law Enforcement FAQ section provides more information on building and maintaining your fence.

Posted by Amanda Dyer On 5/12/2022 at 2:32 PM  

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