Before you buy your new home

What is a Subdivision Agreement?
A Subdivision Agreement is a legal contract between the City and a developer. The Agreement clearly states the developer’s obligations to the City for the construction of roads, sewers, parks, open spaces and any other Municipal services within the subdivision.
What are purchaser warning clauses and advisory clauses?
Warning clauses and advisory clauses are often included in Subdivision Agreements. Sometimes developers transfer these clauses to the future builders and future homeowners through the Agreement of Purchase & Sale. These clauses advise the homeowners of potential issues regarding their lot or subdivision. Purchasers are urged to review their Agreement of Purchase & Sale with their lawyer, especially the warning clauses and special conditions, before signing the document.
How do I determine who is the Consulting Engineer, Developer or Builder for my new subdivision/home?
Your Agreement of Purchase & Sale will indicate the name of your Builder. If you require assistance in determining your Developer or Consulting Engineer, contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca.
What is the Consulting Engineer’s responsibility?
The Consulting Engineer is responsible for the design of municipal infrastructure, such as stormwater management ponds, sewers, roads, curbs, and sidewalks. During construction, the Consulting Engineer is obligated to ensure that the infrastructure is installed as per the approved design. Once construction is complete, the Consulting Engineer provides certification of the work.
What is the Developer’s responsibility?
The Developer is responsible for the installation of municipal infrastructure, such as stormwater management ponds, sewers, roads, curbs, sidewalks, streetlighting, boulevard tree planting, and some fencing and landscaping in the subdivision. The developer is also responsible for the maintenance of this infrastructure prior to assumption of the subdivision.
What is the Builder’s responsibility?
The Builder is responsible for constructing your house, grading and sodding your lot, and if included in the Purchase and Sale Agreement, paving your driveway.
What is the City’s responsibility?
In the development of new subdivisions, the City is responsible for development review and ensuring that all municipal infrastructure is constructed in accordance with City standards. Once the site is occupied, City staff can assist with coordinating resident concerns associated with the new subdivision. Contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca.

After you buy your new home

About my property

What will my new address be?

The City of Pickering is responsible for assigning dwelling unit numbers, based on an approved protocol. When numbers are assigned prior to registration of the Plan of Subdivision, these numbers can be subject to change in order to accommodate all unit number requirements within a Plan of Subdivision.

If the home is purchased following registration, the new dwelling owner may submit a formal request to change the number. City Staff will do their best to review the request for a change, but there is no guarantee that the number change can be accommodated. For more information, visit the City of Pickering website.

I found out I have an easement on my property. What does this mean?

An easement typically contains infrastructure that is owned by another entity besides the property owner, such as the City or a utility company. The easement is registered on the property and it grants permission for the owner of the infrastructure to have access to your property for maintenance purposes. Examples of infrastructure located within easements include, but are not limited to, catch basins, underground pipes, and utility pedestals.

Residents are not permitted to construct or place any structures within the easement.

Why do I have a catch basin on my property? What can I do with the catch basin on my property?
A catch basin has been installed on your property to capture storm water. Storm water is carried to the catch basin in drainage swales located on your and your neighbours’ properties. Homeowners are not permitted to remove or cover the catch basins located on their properties.
Can I fill in the drainage swale on my property?
Homeowners are not permitted to fill in the drainage swales on their property because this would have a negative impact to the drainage of the neighbouring properties. Homeowners could be held liable for any damages to other properties due to filling in the drainage swales.
When will I have grass?
The Subdivision Agreement between the City and Developer sets out time frames for completion of the grading and sodding of the development. Your lot may not be sodded immediately to allow for settlement and any repairs to occur. Weather constraints may also cause a delay in sodding. It is best to contact your Builder for information regarding the timing of sod placement. The City does not have this information.
When will my grading deposit be returned?
The City of Pickering does not hold your grading deposit. This is held by the Builder. Generally, the Builder will return the grading deposit after the City has assumed the subdivision. Check your Purchase and Sale Agreement to determine when your grading deposit will be returned. Contact your Builder for additional information.
What is a final lot grading certificate?
A final lot grading certificate is a document issued by the Consulting Engineer certifying that the lot has been graded in accordance with the approved lot grading plan. It will be issued after the lots have been graded, sodded and inspected, and any rectifications have been resolved.
How do I know if my lot grading has been certified?
To find out if a final lot grading certificate has been issued for your lot, you should contact your Builder.
Can I change the grading and drainage patterns on my property?
Residents are not permitted to change the grading and drainage patterns on their property. The overall grading is determined through the subdivision approval stage prior to construction and the detailed grading for each lot is determined through the building permit stage. Lot grading is designed with stormwater management for the site in mind, and any alteration to the design can have a negative impact on the development as a whole. Homeowners who change the drainage patterns could be held liable for any damages.
I want to landscape my property with a pool or a pond. How do I proceed?

Any body of water on a property, where at any point the depth can exceed 0.6 metre, must be surrounded by an enclosure in compliance with City’s Fence By-law 6943/09. The City has prepared a pool enclosure package to assist homeowners in determining the requirements for a pool enclosure permit.

If your subdivision has not been assumed, the applicant will be required to provide written permission from the Developer prior to the City issuing a pool enclosure permit.

Can I construct a patio, shed or deck on my property?

All accessory buildings and structures are regulated under the City's Zoning By-laws, and may require a Building Permit. The Zoning By-laws set out maximum sizes and setback requirements for sheds, garages, decks and other types of structures. Contact the City Development Department at 905.420.4617 or email citydev@pickering.ca for the specific Zoning By-law provisions for your property.

For additional information, please visit the City’s Website.

Typically, patios, sheds and decks cannot be constructed until a final lot grading certificate has been issued for your lot. This allows easy access for the developer to enter your property to complete rectifications, if required. You should consult your purchase and sale agreement for confirmation, as these details are often included in your agreement.

Do I need a permit to install my central air conditioning?
A building permit is not required, however the condenser unit (the outside part of the air conditioner) in new developments is subject to setback and location restrictions under the Zoning By-law and is required to be located in a rear yard or interior side yard or on a roof or balcony and must be set back 0.6 metres from an interior lot line. In addition, the condenser unit cannot be located on a City easement.
Can I widen my driveway?
The City Zoning By-law regulates the width of driveways. Depending on the Zoning By‑law provisions for your area, you may be restricted from widening your driveway. For more information about the regulations applicable in your area, contact the City Development department at 905.420.4617 or email citydev@pickering.ca. If a driveway widening is permitted, it must be done on the private side of the lot. In new subdivisions, the City does not permit any widening of the curb depression.
When will my driveway be paved?
You should review your Purchase and Sale Agreement to determine if the driveway is to be paved by the Builder. The Developer is required to pave the driveway apron as per the Subdivision Agreement with the City. Contact your Builder with respect to the timing of completion.
Can I pave or landscape the area between my driveway and my neighbour’s driveway?
The area between driveways is typically an area graded with a drainage swale and sodded. Residents are not permitted to install hard surface landscaping in this area, as it affects the overall stormwater management strategy for the development.
When can I put up my fence?
You should refer to your Purchase and Sale Agreement to determine if there are any specific requirements for the timing of fence construction. Typically, fences should not be installed until lot grading has been certified by the Consulting Engineer. This allows for easy access if any repairs are required.
I want to put up a fence around my property. Are my adjoining neighbours responsible for any of the cost?
Neighbours must share the “basic cost” of constructing a new division fence. This basic cost is defined as the cost of erecting a 4-foot chain link fence to minimum construction standards. The City of Pickering has enacted Fence Cost Sharing By-law 6944/09, which governs:
  • the basic costs that adjoining property owners are responsible for in relation to a new division fence
  • what process to follow, under the Provincial Offences Act, when an adjoining owner defaults on payment
  • The repair and reconstruction requirements of existing division fences
My house backs on to a park or open space. Can I install a gate in the fence located at the rear of my property?

Fences installed between residential developments and parks or open spaces are usually the property of the City. Gates are not permitted to be installed in fences separating your property from a ravine or wooded area. If your property backs on to a park or open space with mowed grass, it may be possible to install a gate to provide access to the park.

Should you wish to install a gate onto a park or greenspace please contact our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 or email customercare@pickering.ca for information.

Can I finish my basement?
Homeowners who wish to finish their basement must obtain a Building Permit. Plans must be reviewed for compliance with the Ontario Building Code and City By-laws. For information, contact our Building Services Department at 905.420.4631. Please note that any changes to the construction of your new home may affect your Tarion Warranty coverage. Be sure to contact Tarion before proceeding with any new construction.
Am I allowed to have a basement apartment? If so, how do I go about converting the house to a two unit property?

Construction of a basement apartment or ‘accessory dwelling unit’ requires a Building Permit. Plans must be reviewed for compliance with the Ontario Building Code and City By-laws. Several factors such as size, parking spaces, building type and zoning need to be considered before a Building Permit is applied for. For information, please contact our Building Services Department at 905.420.4631. Please note that any changes to the construction of your new home may affect your Tarion Warranty coverage. Be sure to contact Tarion before proceeding with any new construction.

Can I build a new walk up entrance from the basement?

Building a new walk up entrance from the basement requires a Building Permit. Plans must be reviewed for compliance with the Ontario Building Code and City By-laws. Several factors such as location, distance to property lines, and proposed construction design need to be considered before a Building Permit is applied for. For information, please contact our Building Services Department at 905.420.4631. Please note that any changes to the construction of your new home may affect your Tarion Warranty coverage. Be sure to contact Tarion before proceeding with any new construction.

About your community

What does Assumption of the Subdivision mean? How do I know if my Subdivision assumed?
Assumption of the Subdivision by the City occurs when the municipality assumes responsibility for the maintenance of all municipal infrastructure, such as roads, curbs, sidewalks, boulevard trees, streetlights, and street signs. This usually occurs within three (3) to six (6) years after the Subdivision is registered, or when the Developer has fulfilled all of their obligations in the Subdivision Agreement. To determine if your Subdivision has been assumed, contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca.
When will the park in my neighbourhood be developed?
Engineering Services coordinates the development of parkland within the City. For more information contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca.
I see a pond in almost every new subdivision. Why are they there?
Landscaped ponds in most new subdivisions are designed to collect and retain stormwater runoff to prevent flooding downstream (limiting creek bank erosion), and/or treat the water for impurities and pollutants and then safely discharge the water into our creeks (which limits harmful sediments from travelling downstream). To find out the purpose of the pond in your subdivision, contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca.
Can I use the pond in my Subdivision, and the access roads around it, for recreational activities?

Stormwater management ponds are subject to fluctuating water levels, water quality issues, and thin ice. For this reason, ponds and their associated maintenance access roads are not intended for recreational use. This includes, but is not limited to, swimming, skating, or fishing in/on the pond and using the maintenance access roads as a trail for walking, jogging, bike riding, rollerblading, or dog walking. The City will not be responsible for unintended use.

Residents should also be aware that dumping of any waste into stormwater ponds is illegal.

When will the trees on the boulevard be planted?
Trees are typically planted in either the spring or the fall, after the sod has been laid. They are not usually planted during the hot and dry months of July and August. The Developer is responsible for ensuring the boulevard trees have been planted in accordance with the Subdivision Agreement.
Can I have the location of the boulevard tree adjusted?
The location of the boulevard tree is determined by a number of factors including the location of both above ground and underground infrastructure. The tree locations are predetermined and there is very little opportunity to relocate a boulevard tree.
My boulevard tree is dead. Will it be replaced?

The Developer is responsible for replacing dead or unhealthy trees within the boulevard prior to assumption of the Subdivision. Before the City assumes the Subdivision, all boulevard trees are reviewed and the Developer replaces any that are dead or unhealthy.

The planting or removal of trees from a boulevard, once the Subdivision has been assumed, is managed by the City. Residents can request work be done through our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 or email customercare@pickering.ca.

Why was a boulevard tree not planted in front of my home?

Although the Developer is required to plant one boulevard tree per home, sometimes it is not possible. The location of transformers, utility pedestals, streetlights, signs, hydrants and proximity to intersections determine whether it is possible to plant a tree. If there is no space for a tree, the developer may be required to plant a tree within the subdivision, where space permits.

The City of Pickering is not involved in payments made by homeowners to builders for boulevard trees.

What can I do in the boulevard in front of my home?
The City Boulevard Maintenance By-law 6831/08 dictates what can be done to the boulevard in front of your home. By-law 6831/08 prohibits residents from cutting down, damaging or destroying any trees, fixtures, grass, plantings, sidewalk or other improvements on any boulevard. The Boulevard Maintenance By-law includes the following regulations:
  • No plantings are permitted within 0.60 metres of a sidewalk, within 1.8 metres of the curb where no sidewalks exist or within 1.5 metres of the top of the bank of a roadside ditch
  • No plantings shall exceed 1.0 metre above the grade of the boulevard
  • No rocks, bricks, concrete slabs or anything protruding, sharp or dangerous is permitted on a boulevard.
  • No light fixtures, pillars, signage or similar objects are permitted on a boulevard
  • No fences are to be erected on a boulevard
Who is responsible for maintaining the boulevard in front of my house?

With the exception of the boulevard trees, it is the property owner's responsibility to maintain the municipal boulevard as governed by the Boulevard Maintenance By-law 6831/08. Residents should be aware that grass and weeds are not to exceed 15 centimetres in length.

Any requests for the City to maintain or remove trees planted by or on behalf of the City can be directed to our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 or email customercare@pickering.ca.

Is parking permitted on my street?
The City's Traffic & Parking By-law 6604/05 outlines the parking restrictions on City streets. It is in place to maintain safe conditions for pedestrians and traffic, and accommodate traffic flow including access for emergency response and service vehicles. This by-law is actively enforced by our Parking Control Officers and includes these basic provisions that apply to all streets in Pickering:
  • Vehicle parking is limited to a maximum of three (3) hours on all City streets unless otherwise posted
  • During snow-clearing operations, vehicles are not permitted to park on City streets or highways
  • No parking on streets from 2:00 am to 5:00 am from December 1 to March 31
Can I apply for a parking permit?
The City has introduced an online Parking Consideration Request system that will send information directly to the parking control officers once the request is received. The City accepts requests for parking consideration to allow residents or their guests to park on the street in excess of three (3) hours or between 2:00 am - 5:00 am (December 1 - March 31). Parking consideration is granted for special circumstances such as overnight guests, driveway repairs, out-of-town visitors, construction, special functions, etc.
The Builder instructed me to park on the street while they worked on my driveway/curb, will I still be ticketed for this?
As part of the ongoing development of your Subdivision, there will be times when access to park your vehicle in your driveway will be restricted. The builder should be notifying and arranging with the City ahead of time to advise of the parking limitations. Any exemption will only be for the 3-hour limit and the 2:00 am to 5:00 am parking restrictions, similar to those provided under our Parking Consideration Program. In the event you still receive a ticket for parking in excess of three (3) hours or between 2:00 am-5:00 am, please ensure you contact the City and the builder within seven (7) days. By‑law services can be contacted at 905.420.4611 or email bylaw@pickering.ca, to follow up on your ticket.
How can I pay my parking ticket?
There are three options for paying a parking ticket:
  • online through our eTicket Portal
  • in person, Monday to Friday between 8:30 am - 4:00 pm at the address below.
  • by cheque, mailed to the following address:

City of Pickering
Attn: Municipal Law Enforcement Services
One The Esplanade
Pickering, ON   L1V 6K7

Will there be a transformer (green box), pedestal, or streetlight in front of my house?
The location of street hardware is determined through the Subdivision approval process. Contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca to determine if there will be any street hardware in front of your house.
Can the streetlight in front of my house be moved to a different location?
Streetlights cannot be relocated as they are installed in specific locations to meet design standards to provide sufficient lighting on the street.
Who do I call if the streetlight in front of my house is not working or if the transformer or pedestal in front of my house has been damaged?

If there are any issues with the utility infrastructure located in front of your house, contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca. Engineering Services staff will advise the developer and it will be noted as a deficiency of the development until it has been repaired.

After assumption of the Subdivision, homeowners should contact our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 for any matters related to utilities.

Where will the Canada Post Super Mailbox be located?
The location of the Canada Post Super Mailboxes is determined through the Subdivision approval process. A temporary mailbox will be installed until such time as the site is ready for the permanent mailbox. The temporary location may not be the same as the permanent location. For information on the permanent mailbox location contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca. For inquiries regarding mail delivery, contact Canada Post at 1.866.607.6301.
Will there be a sidewalk in front of my house?
The City requires sidewalks to be located on all streets to allow for safe pedestrian travel. Sidewalk locations are determined through the Subdivision approval process. Contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca to determine if there will be a sidewalk in front of your house.
Who is responsible for clearing snow and ice on the sidewalk in front of my house?
Homeowners are responsible to clear snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their house and for corner lots, on the side of their house, within 24 hours of accumulation. Review the City’s Ice & Snow Clearing By-law 6650/06 and the Snow Removal and Clearing page on the City website for more information.
Does the City perform snow removal operations in new subdivisions?
Once the first home in the new Subdivision is occupied, the Developer is permitted to make a request for Winter Control operations by the City. A number of criteria must be met for the City to begin performing Winter Control operations. If all criteria are met, the City will begin winter control of all new roads and any parks designated form Winter Control within the Subdivision. If these criteria cannot be met, the Developer will be required to provide for Winter Control within the Subdivision.
Who is responsible for maintaining Stormwater Management Ponds, Walkways and Parks in my Subdivision?
Prior to assumption, the Developer is responsible for the maintenance of the Stormwater Management Ponds, Walkways and Parks within the Subdivision. Once the Subdivision has been assumed, the City takes over this responsibility.
When will garbage pick up begin? Where can I get a blue box or green bin?
The Region of Durham is responsible for waste pick up and distribution of blue boxes and green bins. Contact the Region of Durham at 1.800.667.5671 or visit the website at www.durham.ca/waste for more information.
My neighbour is not looking after their property. What are the standards for maintaining property?

Residential properties, whether vacant or occupied, must be well maintained. Property Standards By-law 5943/02 and Clean & Clear By-law 6832/08 protect property values and maintain safety by regulating appearance and safety standards for the interior and exterior of buildings and properties in the City.

For additional information on property standards, please visit the City’s website.

What do I do if I see someone dumping garbage in my new subdivision or dumping into a catch basin?
Pickering's Eyes on the Street program encourages residents, local businesses and City staff to work together in keeping our community safe by reporting any problems that affect the quality of life in Pickering. Submit an online Service Request or contact Customer Care at 905.683.7575 or email customercare@pickering.ca to report any of these activities. If possible, try to obtain and provide as much detail as you can about the incident. Making note of the licence plate, make, model and colour of vehicle as well as a description of the person will assist our Municipal Law Enforcement Officers with their investigation.

You can also report a problem with our app; Pingstreet. The app allows you to upload a photo of the problem, and report it directly using your location coordinates. Download it from your app store today, or learn more at pickering.ca/pingstreet.

Who do I contact if the streets in my Subdivision need to be cleaned?

Prior to assumption, the Developer is required to keep all roads within the new Subdivision and all existing roads around the Subdivision clear of dirt and debris caused by construction activities. If you have concerns with the condition of the road in your Subdivision, please contact the Engineering Services Department at 905.420.4624 or email engser@pickering.ca.

After assumption, the City has a road cleaning program where the roads are swept on a biannual basis. Any concerns should be addressed to the Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575.

What school will my child be attending? Is a school going to be built near me?

For information regarding education, contact the appropriate school board:

Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East, Whitby, ON, L1R 2K6
Phone: 905.666.5500 or 1.800.265.3968
www.ddsb.ca

Durham Catholic District School Board
650 Rossland Road West, Oshawa, ON, L1J 7C4
Phone: 905.576.6150 or 1.877.482.0722
www.dcdsb.ca

Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud
110, avenue Drewry, Toronto, ON, M2M 1C8
Tél: 416.397.6564 ou 1.800.274.3764
www.cscmonavenir.ca

Conseil Scolaire Viamonde
116, Cornelius Parkway, Toronto, ON, M6L 2K5
Tel: 416.614.0844 ou 1.888.583.5383
www.csviamonde.ca

When does the City start enforcing the by-laws in my Subdivision?
The City may commence enforcement of by-laws based on issues with on-street parking, noise, property standards, etc., as required to address by-law contraventions concerns. Please contact the By-law Services Department at 905.420.4611 or email bylaw@pickering.ca to discuss specific concerns.
Who do I speak to if I see an unsafe construction activity?
Workers are required to perform their duties safely and in accordance with all aspects of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. To report unsafe working conditions you should contact the Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1.877.202.0008.
What are the hours of operation for construction activity?

In accordance with City of Pickering Noise By-law 8048/23, the operation of construction equipment is limited to 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Saturday, unless superseded by any applicable Federal or Provincial Legislation. If work is occurring outside of these hours, you should contact our By-law Services Department.

Who do I call if vehicles are speeding in my Subdivision and not obeying Traffic Control Signage?
You should contact Durham Regional Police at 1.888.579.1520 to report any non-emergency. The City of Pickering is not able to enforce Highway Traffic Act violations.
Who do I call if a stop sign or street sign has been damaged or removed from my street?
If a stop sign or street sign has been damaged or removed, contact the Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575. City staff will arrange to have it replaced as quickly as possible.

For any questions not included above, please feel free to contact the City of Pickering Customer Care Centre directly at 905.683.7575 or by email at customercare@pickering.ca. Our Customer Care staff will ensure your concern is directed to the appropriate department for follow up.