Later, when I had a home of my own, I tried to keep my property the same way. I knew there was an expectation to keep the house in good repair, keep the grass cut, and shovel the walk in the winter. Not only did I know I had to keep the house and yard in good repair, I wanted to.
I was never aware, until recently, that there was a Neighbourhood Livability By-Law, which spells out the rules that each home owner should live by. It provides guidelines for maintaining houses, outbuildings, yards and fences.
Here are some basic guidelines that apply to the outside of a residence:
- during the summer months, your grass should never get to be over 6 inches in height, and you are required to cut the boulevard around your house and any grass and/or weeds that might be in your back lane
- during the summer months, you are required to take care of the weeds in your yard
- during the summer months, ensure all windows that open have tight fitting screens, so insects cannot get in the house.
- make sure your fence is painted and in good repair
- make sure your house is painted and in good repair
- the roof needs to be in good repair
- you should not have any broken windows
- if you have more than three steps to your house or deck, you need a railing
- all roofs that have a slope (house or any outbuilding) need to have gutters to catch the water
- all gutters need to have downspouts that take water away from the building and do not allow eroding of the ground under them
- the foundation of the house should not have any breaks or cracks which would allow rodents to enter
- your house number must be posted at the front and back of the house and must be at least three inches high and in a contrasting color
- you cannot have an excess of garbage in your yard
- you are required to clean any garbage in your back lane behind your residence
If you are a home owner, take a look at your house. If there are issues, make a plan. Break it down into safety issues, things that need to be done right away, things that can wait a while, etc. Some projects take time, others take money. Do the easy stuff first. House numbers do not need to be purchased, they could be painted on as well. You may think house numbers are not important, but having them front and back could save your life one day if an emergency vehicle needs to find your residence.
Every improvement done, big or small, helps the look of the entire neighbourhood. And that's good for everyone.