Skip to main
City of Toronto - Online Information and Services

Bylaw enforcement - long grass and weeds - hogweed - natural garden exemptions - on private property

Back to Search

The owner or occupant of private land is responsible for cutting the grass and weeds on their private lands and compliance is required whenever the growth of grass and weeds exceeds 20 centimetres in height / 8 inches (Under Chapter 489 of the Municipal Code). When a complaint is received, an Advisory Letter is sent out to the property owner quoting the bylaws and the requirements for maintenance within 14 days. If the owner does not comply after the Notice expires, the City can do the work and the costs and administration fees may be added to the property taxes. The height of the grass and weeds is the criterion to determine compliance regardless of whether or not the weeds are noxious.

Enforcement
In cases of long grass and weeds, a written notice is sent to the owner of the property and if the owner's address is unknown, a placard stating the terms of the notice is placed on the property. If the owner fails to comply and the City chooses to cut the grass, any costs incurred by the City are added to the owners property tax. Even when the owner indicates they did not receive a notice, the cost incurred is still added to the property as taxes with a remedial penalty.

If you wish to file a complaint, a service request for investigation by the Municipal Licensing & Standards can be submitted online through the city website or call 311.

Definitions:

  • Grass and weeds: Any other vegetation growth that does not form part of a natural garden that has been deliberately implemented to produce ground cover, including one or more species of wildflowers, shrubs, perennials, grasses or combinations of them, whether native or non-native, consistent with a managed and natural landscape other than regularly mown grass.
  • Noxious weeds:All noxious weeds and local weeds designated under the Weed Control Act
    Note: this includes complaints about Giant Hogweed on private property

A natural garden exemption for a manicured garden of non-weeds may be submitted to the local Community Council for approval.

Community Council can exempt "natural gardens" (from the Long Grass & Weeds Bylaw) which it is satisfied is a managed and natural landscape consisting of wildflowers, shrubs, perennials grasses or a combination.

To apply for a natural gardens exemptions, a property owner can complete the Natural Garden Exemption application form and submit it by mail or in person to any of the local ML&S District offices. There is no fee to apply, but if your application is denied, it will cost to appeal the decision. Fees are posted on the website.

If a property is not in compliance with Chapter 489 and or Chapter 743, the property owner may be issued a Notice of Violation (NOV). If the owner would like to contest the NOV and apply for a natural gardens exemption, they should apply within 14 days from the NOV date.

Natural Gardens exemption application form

Website

Related information: