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Do You Need a Fence Permit (and How to Get One)

It's a concern that many homeowners have when they want to put up a new fence: do they need a fence permit, and if so, how do they get one?

It's a question we hear very often, so we thought we'd share some tips and tricks you need to know about fence permits in Canada.

It Varies By City

The first thing you should know, when you're looking into fence permits, is that it's not a one size fits all thing. Different cities have different rules about what's allowed without a permit, so it's always best to contact your city's building department and ask them directly.

Don't assume that because the neighbors have a particular type of fence, that will be allowed. Bylaws can and do change, and what might be grandfathered in for someone else might require a fence permit if you were to do it today.

Your Subdivision Might Have Rules Too

Even if your city doesn't have any specific rules against the type of fence you want to install, your subdivision might. For instance, when properties back onto a green belt, very often, they're don't allow privacy fences along those fence lines. Some developments might also specify what type of fence and what color you are allowed to install. Always check before you invest!

The Height Factor

Height is a big factor in fence permits. Most cities have a maximum height for fencing, and some have different heights for front and back yards, and rules about what the height can be on the side of your home too. Always make sure that you get all the details from your local building department, and order your products accordingly.

Permission from Neighbors

Even if you don't need a permit from the city to install the new fence around your yard, chances are you will need to talk to your neighbors, since you will be making changes to shared property lines. Some neighbors might be willing to share the costs of the new fence too, so it's worth discussing the issue with them.

Know Your Setbacks

Even if you don't need a fence permit, you still need to make sure that you don't encroach on any setbacks. Make sure you find out what the setback on the front, back and any sides that aren't shared fence lines. If you install a fence where you aren't allowed to, the city can (and probably will) make you remove it, and may fine you too.

If You Need a Permit

If you do need a permit to install a fence, find out what you need to submit to the city. Very often, they will want to have a site plan with fence lines marked, usually to scale, and they might also want detail drawings of fence lines, as well as product information. This can add considerable cost to the project, depending on the type of fence you want to use.

One Call

Even if you don't need to get fence permits to install your new fence, many cities require a One Call or First Call. This is a scan of the fence line to identify and mark power cables and gas lines, and in some parts of Canada, it's required by law. Make sure you find out what the rules about this is, and if there's any doubt, err on the side of caution and get it done. In many cities, this is a free service too, and when you consider that there might be gas lines under the ground, it's an important step in safety.

Whether you need a fence permit or not, we're happy to advise you about fencing products, and provide you with pricing at wholesale prices. So you can get a better quality, commercial grade fence material, and still save some money!