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Neglected properties

If there is a house or building in your neighbourhood that is run-down or not cared for, it can be an eyesore and can become a problem for you and your neighbours.

Common elements of neglected properties include things like:

  • appliances or old cars left on the lawn or driveway
  • grass and gardens growing out of control and full of weeds
  • dangerous items like old fuel cans left lying around

These can make your street look unattractive and run-down and can be harmful if children or animals play with items that might contain chemicals or other toxins.

Abandoned properties can also have a negative impact on a neighbourhood, lowering people’s sense of pride in the community. They can sometimes attract a negative element into a neighbourhood as drug dealers and other criminals might choose to use the property for their activities.

What can you do about it?

  • Understand the by-law: Read the City of Ottawa by-law on Property Standards.
  • File a complaint: You can make a complaint to the City of Ottawa about the interior or exterior condition of a building by calling 3-1-1. The city will come and inspect it.

Abandoned cars

If one of your neighbours is keeping old, broken down cars in his backyard or parked outside his home, be aware that the City of Ottawa’s by-law on property standards states that, “No vehicle, which is in a wrecked, discarded, dismantled, inoperative or abandoned condition shall be parked, stored or left in a yard.”

However, if your neighbour has only one vehicle in the yard, which is currently being actively repaired, he has the right to do so. To find out more, read the by-law on the City’s website.

Bushes and hedges

Have you ever tried pulling out of a street with an unusually tall or wide bush obstructing your view? Or walking home through a parking lot or laneway in the dark and suddenly noticing how difficult it is to see around an overgrown hedge? If so, you understand how bushes, shrubs, hedges and trees can make you feel unsafe—or even put your safety at risk.

That’s why the City of Ottawa Property Standards by-law states that all hedges, shrubs, trees or other plants must be planted and maintained in a way that does not:

  • adversely affect the safety of the public
  • adversely affect the safety of vehicular or pedestrian traffic
  • constitute an obstruction of view for vehicular or pedestrian traffic
  • wholly or partially conceal or interfere with the use of any hydrant or water valves.

For more information, read the city’s Property Standards by-law.