18 November 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Boulevard and Front Yard Parking Informatiom

With front yard parking (boulevard parking in some areas) being a major headache for home buyers throughout many neighbourhoods, the city of Toronto is trying to make access to getting information on what is legal (or not) more easily accesible.

Many times I encounter sellers during a listing presentation (audtioning to be their choosen agent to represent them during the sale) who will tell me that their property has one (two, three) parking spaces. When I ask them if they are legal spots (most front yard parking spots need a city permit license) I typically get a “i’m not sure, but we’ve never had a problem”.

In many parts of the city gettting your hands on a legible, up to date survey is almost as likely as winning the lotto 649. Very rare! So what do you do? Well for starters you advise the sellers that unless you can provide proof that it is legal you are not able to advertise it as such. Almost always I get the look of “are you kiding me!” or “next agent please” (just joking.)

After careful explanation of what the liability to a seller is in this case most if not all see my point. Worst case I tell them to spring for a new survey. The cost will surely be less than the lawyer fees that are certain to come your way.

Municipalities may regulate boulevard / front yard parking. The City of Toronto web site provides information regarding boulevard and front yard parking restrictions and licensing requirements, including an index of existing licensed parking locations, and information on permit requirements and application procedures.

Note: Recent media reports indicated concerns about restrictions on driveway parking as a result of new City of Toronto zoning rules. The City has indicated that these rules do NOT apply to any existing homes.

Below is a fact sheet the city has recently put out to try and help clarify what is, what isn’t and what you need to do. For further information you can visit the city of Toronto’s website for additional information. http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/offstreet/index.htm

Fact Sheet on Parking in Driveways and the New Zoning Bylaw

The new Zoning Bylaw does not apply to any existing homes and their driveway parking situation. In other words, it cannot be applied retroactively. Those homes are governed by the previous zoning bylaws that were in place prior to the enactment of the new Harmonized Zoning Bylaw.

The existing bylaws and the new zoning bylaw state, with some exceptions, the ‘required parking space’ cannot be in the front yard, which is the area between the front of the house and the street. Typically with new development the parking space is provided in the form of an attached garage. Being part of the house, the garage is, by definition, not in the front yard since it required to be set back from street.

It is common practice to park in the driveway. ‘Driveways’ by definition do not allow parking on them. Zoning bylaws must recognize the permission to park in the driveway. The new Zoning Bylaw recognizes this practice by allowing a parking space to be located in the driveway.

Single detached, semi-detached and ‘street’ townhouses require one parking space although more can be provided.

The new Zoning Bylaw applies on a go-forward basis. All existing situations are not affected. There will be no fines levied against existing situations.

Garage/Driveway New Zoning Bylaw Provisions

Single car garage with single car-wide driveway One car can park in the garage, and one car may be parked in front of garage. Additional parking spaces are prohibited on the remainder of the driveway.

Single car garage with a driveway widened to twice the original width (max. 6 metres). One car can park in the garage, and two cars may be parked side by side on the driveway. Additional parking spaces are prohibited on the remainder of the driveway.

Double car garage Two cars may be parked in the garage, and two cars can be parked side by side in front of the garage. Additional parking spaces are prohibited on the remainder of the driveway.


Q: When did this bylaw come into effect?

A: This bylaw came into effect on August 27, 2010 as part of the new Harmonized Zoning Bylaw.

Q: What is the purpose of such a provision?

A: The purpose of this provision is to allow parking in the driveway in front of the house. This provision is intended to recognize the common practice of parking in the driveway in front of the garage. Visit our website at www.toronto.ca

Q: Will I be charged for parking in my driveway?

A: This driveway parking provision of the new zoning bylaw will not affect existing homeowners. Enforcement of this provision will be applied to new situations (homes built under the new zoning bylaw) and on a complaint basis only.

Q: Did this driveway parking provision go to Council?

A: This matter was included in a report dated October 21, 2009 to the Planning and Growth Management Committee for its meeting held on November 4, 2009. The matter is discussed on pages 19 and 20. Link to the report: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/pg/bgrd/backgroundfile-24425.pdf

Q: What about people parking three cars in my driveway now?

A: If it was lawful (under the previous zoning bylaws) you are permitted to continue to park in your driveway before. The new zoning provisions will not affect existing parking situations.

Q: What about overnight visitors and guests during the day?

A: The zoning bylaw concerns itself with regular or repeated activity. The irregular occurrence of overnight guests or visitors parking vehicles in your driveway is not unlawful under the new Zoning Bylaw.

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