Skip navigation
Social Media
Email IconTranslate

Property Standards

A man in a uniform

The City of Waterloo's property standards by-law (no. 2011-122) regulates the maintenance and occupancy of lands and buildings within the city.

It also sets out enforcement standards to ensure owners of properties that do not conform to its regulations undertake any necessary repairs or maintenance to comply with the by-law.

This by-law regulates the following issues:

  • Buildings - This includes the structural stability of a building - foundations, walls, floors, roofs and stairs. It also includes air conditioners and water-cooled equipment, heating and ventilation, plumbing, parking garages and more.
  • Damage by fire, storm or other causes - This includes regulations to bring a property into compliance for health and safety reasons.
  • Demolition - This includes regulations to protect adjoining properties and members of the public during a demolition. A property must be cleared of all undesirable material and properly graded within 30 days of a demolition.
  • Environment - This includes driveways and ramps, lighting, maintenance of approved site plans, structural condition of accessory buildings, fences, retaining walls, outside storage of refuse (garbage) and recyclable materials, signs, swimming pools, hoarding, mould and more.
  • Heritage properties - This includes regulations for making repairs or replacements in a heritage building to ensure its integrity is maintained.
  • Additional standards for non-residential properties - This includes ensuring that the interiors of buildings and units are well maintained. It also includes the maintenance of egresses (to ensure clear passage), the supply of utilities, general cleanliness of common areas and more.
  • Additional standards for residential rental properties - This includes the interior of buildings to ensure residential rental buildings/units are well maintained. Lighting, ventilation, mechanical systems (heating/coolants/electrical/pluming), means of egress, indoor and outdoor storage of refuse (garbage) and recyclable material, pest prevention and general cleanliness of the common areas fall into this section.
  • Additional standards for vacant properties - This includes general rules and standards for vacant buildings or structures to prevent risk of fire, accident or other dangers. Unfinished buildings or structures must be completed in an acceptable manner within a reasonable time frame.


This by-law is enforced using three principles: voluntary compliance, complaint- and risk-based investigation, and reasonable, transparent and proportionate enforcement. Violations that cannot be solved between a property owner and a tenant should be directed to our enforcement division.

By-law officers may enter and inspect any property without a warrant to determine whether or not it conforms with the property standards by-law. Officers may enter and inspect any residential building with the permission of the occupant or owner. We may obtain a search warrant if permission is denied.

If the property does not comply with the by-law, the officer may issue an order to comply to the property's owner and anyone else the officer deems to be affected by the order. It may also be registered with the land registry office. An order may be appealed within 14 days of it being served.

If the property owner does not comply with the order, we may undertake the necessary repairs, cleaning, clearing or demolishing at the owner's expense. After re-inspecting the property, a property standards officer can issue a certificate of compliance if his or her assessment reveals it now conforms. The property owner must request and pay for this certificate.

If you believe someone is violating the property standards by-law and would like to file a complaint, please contact us online or by calling 519-747-8785.


These are the fees associated with the property standards by-law:

Appeals to orders issued under section 15.2 of the Building Code Act


Letter of compliance


Third and subsequent inspection fees


Title search for confirmed orders


Administrative fee for services and materials used by the city


Emergency standby fee, by the hour