| Homeowners

The City requires building permits in Toronto for many different types of renovations, demolition, construction or additions to a property. Do we need a building permit? – this is one of the questions that we get asked the most by our clients. Below is a short list outlining when you do and when you don’t need a permit. Just remember – if you’re considering reno’s you should still confirm with the city’s building department if you need a permit before moving ahead.

Homeowners may choose not to get a building permit even if one is required or sometimes contractors do not inform the homeowner about the need for a building permit. Ultimately, the responsibility lays with the homeowner, not the contractor so flag this page for future reference!

If you decide to go ahead and do work to your property without a permit the possibility exists that nothing could happen. The city and your home insurance company may not find out about the work you’ve done without permits. However, the city takes their job of enforcing building codes and zoning bylaws seriously and consequences could include undoing the work that has been done!

So, when do you need a permit?

  • Renovate, repair or add to a building
  • Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • Change a building’s use
  • Install, change or remove partitions and load bearing walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of, door and windows
  • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • Install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems or firplaces

So, when is a permit NOT needed?

  • Replace existing same size, door and windows, subject to distance from property lines
  • Install siding on small residential property, subject to distance from property lines
  • Build a roofless deck under 2 feet that is not attached to the building
  • Build a utility shed under 100 sqft
  • Reshingle a roof, provided there is no structural work
  • Install eaves troughs, provided that drainage is contained on your property
  • Replace or increase insulation, drywall or plaster
  • Damp proof basements
  • Paint or decorate
  • Install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing
  • Erect a fence (except for swimming pools, outside pools require permits)


Do you have a question about permits that we haven’t answered here? Then give us a call at #416-291-7372. We’re happy to help.