The City of Sarnia’s By-laws 81 of 2015 and 75 of 2009 sets standards for maintenance and occupancy applying to all local properties.

All property owners are required to repair and maintain their property according to these standards, including owners of rental residential properties – unless there is an agreement between the property owner and a lessee or occupant that assigns maintenance and repair responsibility to the lessee or occupant.

Examples of the standards contained in the code include:

  • All structures are required to be structurally sound and all exterior walls, roofs and foundations are required to be free of water leaks and painted or otherwise treated or waterproofed.
  • The interior of all buildings must have an adequate level of lighting.
  • All heating, plumbing and mechanical systems and elevating devices must be maintained and operational in good working order.
  • Residential occupancies must comply with minimum requirements regarding room dimensions, ceiling heights, ventilation, potable water and an adequate supply of hot water.
  • All exterior property areas shall be kept clear of inoperative vehicles and garbage.
  • Outdoor lighting shall be placed and maintained, so as to not be directed at a dwelling or dwelling unit on adjoining property.
  • To report a property standards violation, please contact us.

Examples of the standards not contained in the code include:

  • Private elevators: The City does not have any governing authority over private elevators. The City’s property standards by-law requires that “an elevator shall be maintained in operation and in compliance with the Technical Standards and Safety Act” (TSSA). As such, elevators are the responsibility of the building owner and are regulated by the TSSA. Concerns can be shared with the building owner and/or the TSSA at 1-877-682-8772.

Property Standards Violations 

When a complaint is received, a City of Sarnia By-law Enforcement Officer will investigate to determine if a violation exists. If a violation is found, the officer can issue a property standards order, advising the owner of the violation and requiring that it be remedied within a specified time period. 

Any owner has the right to appeal to our property standards committee if they are not satisfied with the terms of the order. The committee can either:

  • Uphold the order
  • Rescind the order
  • Modify the length of time the owner has to comply 

If an owner fails to comply with a property standards order, we may initiate action to complete necessary repairs. Any costs associated with our work on the property will be applied to the tax rolls of the subject property.

In addition, we may initiate legal action against any person who fails to comply with a property standards order. The maximum fine for non-compliance with a property standards order is $25,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a corporation.

Note: Any individual who brings to the City’s attention a potential property standards by-law violation must be willing to leave their name, address, and phone number, otherwise the matter will not be investigated.