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Does Your Fence Require a Permit?

When you're doing any additions to your home, chances are you're worried about permits, licenses and all kinds of red tape. A fence is no different.

Here's what you need to know about permits and other legalities when it comes to fence installation.

Most Cities Don't Require Permits

The good news is that most cities in Canada don't require a permit to construct a residential fence. The bad news is that you should still contact your city's building department to confirm this, because every city is different! A phone call or a visit is all it takes to be completely sure, and since there are usually fines if you don't follow the rules, this is always a good idea!

Must Meet City Bylaws

While you probably won't need to get a building permit for a fence on your property, you still need to meet city bylaws to ensure that you don't run into trouble.

Make sure you know what the maximum height allowance is for the fence you want to install, and remember that there might be different heights allowed for different parts of your lot.

Make sure your fences are also installed on your property line, and within the required setbacks from your property line where applicable.

Finally, if you live in a subdivision or planned community, make sure that the type of fence you are installing meets the allowed standard. Some communities only allow a particular type of fence, and some might even specify the colour and other features.

Get a One Call

Although it's not technically a permit, a One Call or First Call is required in many parts of Canada. This service, which is usually free, surveys your fence lines to make sure that there are no gas lines or cables running under the fence line where you plan to do your fence install. If there are, you might only be allowed to hand dig or hydrovac, but since this can be very dangerous, it's always best to be safe rather than sorry!

Know Your Lot Layout

Finally, before you install any fence (whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a professional), make sure that you know exactly where your property lines are. Find the property marker pegs or get a site plan for your lot, so that you're 100% sure that you're installing your fence on the right spot. Remember that you are legally liable to remove a fence that encroaches on someone else's property, and even if you hire a fence company to do the installation for you, it's still up to you to point out the fence line. They won't take responsibility if your fence is installed in the wrong place.