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Permitted Encroachments


What can You Do without an Encroachment Agreement?

You may wonder what you can actually do without permission!

Looks like: SOFT LANDSCAPING is the answer.

The technical answer appears to be “nothing” at all. That’s the strict legal position.

But, many municipalities are not quite that strict and they have passed by-laws in order to generally permit some usual situations that occur on a regular basis.

Here’s a list of the permitted encroachments under the current City of Toronto By-law:

“Article V of the amendments allows property owners to plant “soft” landscaping, such as hedges and gardens, in boulevards without the need for a permit or an encroachment agreement. The by-law allows additional encroachments in the boulevard, referred to as “permitted” encroachments, without an encroachment agreement with the City, specifically:

 walkways less than 1.5 metres wide;

 pre-cast concrete curb stones and driveway curbs;

 fences/retaining walls less than 0.90 metres in height, measured from the travelled surface of the adjoining road; and,

 stairs.

These “permitted” encroachments are allowed “as of right” without the need for an encroachment agreement or annual fees, provided that the “permitted” encroachments comply with the following municipal requirements:


 the encroachment does not obstruct pedestrian and vehicle sight lines;

 the encroachment does not obstruct driveways, impede or pose a hazard or potential hazard to pedestrians or vehicle traffic;

 the encroachment does not interfere with the City's ability to maintain the street in a state of good repair or to keep it free of litter, snow and ice;

 the encroachment does not interfere with traffic control devices or the existing and future location and maintenance of sidewalks, bicycle trails or utilities;

 the encroachment does not extend into the boulevard area fronting any neighbouring property when the common lot is projected perpendicular to the road; and,

 any other criteria considered appropriate by the General Manager of Transportation Services.”


Other Municipalities

There are hundreds of municipalities throughout Ontario and each one has its own rules. Many are likely to accept similar encroachments to the ones permitted in Toronto.

So, check first. Better to be safe than sorry.

If there is a problem, then consult your own lawyer for legal advice. You might consult with a solicitor practising in the field of real estate or municipal law. A barrister or litigation lawyer could be consulted as well.


Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is a Manager at RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage 416-745-2300.