The Town has by-laws to encourage residents and businesses to be responsible and respectful of their neighbours and contribute to the health, safety, and vibrancy of our community.
Our by-law enforcement officers are responsible for the investigation and enforcement of all our municipal by-laws. You can often see them around Town providing education, conducting inspections, responding to complaints, issuing warnings, or applying penalties.
To report an issue or a violation of one or more of our by-laws, you can report the problem online now, or contact the following By-Law Officers:
- Building Issues – (902) 742-1505
- Fire Safety Issues – (902) 742-7411
- Property Issues – (902) 742-1505
Below are some common questions or topics related to building matters.
Programs and Services for Tenants and Landlords
Minimum Housing Standards
Our pdf Minimum Housing By-Law (222 KB) is used to protect the right of Town residents to have a suitable standard of living. It can also be used to protect the standards of Town buildings for property owners or landlords who may have tenants or occupants that are causing a dwelling to not meet the Town’s minimum housing standards. All housing within the Town must have:
- solid walls, floors, and a roof to protect from the elements.
- secure working windows and doors.
- safe exits.
- natural light and ventilation.
- electricity for lighting and appliances.
- smoke alarms.
- plumbing including a flushable toilet, a bath or shower and hot and cold water.
- a kitchen.
- heat in cold weather.
Where there is a conflict with the provision of another By-law in force within the Town of Yarmouth, the provision that establishes the higher standards to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the general public shall prevail.
Dangerous or Unsightly Premises
The Town of Yarmouth enforces the requirements of Section 15 of the Municipal Government Act of Nova Scotia. The Act requires that "every property in a municipality shall be maintained so as not to be dangerous or unsightly."
"dangerous or unsightly" means partly demolished, decayed, deteriorated or in a state of disrepair so as to be dangerous, unsightly or unhealthy, and includes property containing:
- ashes, junk, cleanings of yards or other rubbish or refuse or a derelict vehicle, vessel, item of equipment or machinery, or bodies of these or parts thereof
- an accumulation of wood shavings, paper, sawdust, dry and inflammable grass or weeds or other combustible material, or
- any other thing that is dangerous, unsightly, unhealthy or offensive to a person, and includes property, a building or structure
- that is in a ruinous or dilapidated condition,
- the condition of which seriously depreciates the value of land or buildings in the vicinity,
- that is in such a state of non-repair as to be no longer suitable for human habitation or business purposes,
- that is an allurement to children who may play there to their danger,
- constituting a hazard to the health or safety of the public,
- that is unsightly in relation to neighbouring properties because the exterior finish of the building or structure is not maintained,
- that is a fire hazard to itself or to surrounding lands or buildings, or
- that has been excavated or had fill placed on it in a manner that results in a hazard;
The Town of Yarmouth employs a municipal fire inspector as required by the Fire Safety Act of Nova Scotia. The inspector carries out a system of inspections on the following occupancies:
- Assembly occupancies (churches, community halls, licensed establishments, restaurants, theatres, bowling alleys, arenas, rinks, gymnasiums, museums, indoor pools).
- Residential occupancies containing four (4) or more dwelling units (apartments, motels, hotels).
- Business and personal service occupancies (offices, banks, and service shops).
- Mercantile occupancies (stores, markets, and retail outlets).
- Industrial occupancies ( workshops, factories, warehouses, repair garages, gas stations).
The inspector is responsible to ensure compliance with the National Fire Code of Canada and is available to provide information on fire safety and fire emergency planning.
Fire Safety Planning
The National Fire Code of Canada requires that certain buildings shall develop and maintain a Fire Safety Plan. To assist owners/occupants in the development and/or maintenance of these plans, the Office of the Fire Inspector for the Town of Yarmouth has made available a Fire Safety Planning Guide. Building owners/occupants are encouraged to use this guide as a template to prepare or enhance their plans so that they meet the requirements of the Fire Code.
The following occupancies are required to have a formal fire safety plan:
- Assembly occupancies (any building in which persons gather including restaurants, halls, gymnasiums, libraries, churches, clubs, bowling alleys);
- Every building is required to have a fire alarm system including sprinklered buildings;
- Areas used for bulk storage;
- Areas where flammable or combustible liquids are stored or handled;
- Areas where hazardous processes or operations occur.
If your building falls within one of the categories listed above, you are required to have a fire safety plan. For more information or to obtain a hard copy of our fire safety planning guide, please call or visit the Fire Inspector at: Fire Services Department, 221 Pleasant Street, Yarmouth Tel: 902-740-5706.
The town of Yarmouth does not make any warranties or representations with respect to the content, quality, accuracy or completeness of any information or material contained in the Fire Safety Guide Template. The town of Yarmouth assumes no legal liability for the content, quality, accuracy, or completeness of the Fire Safety Guide Template. In no event will the Town of Yarmouth be liable for any damages, whether direct, indirect general, consequential, incidental, exemplary or special, arising from the use of this template.
Vacating a building in Yarmouth isn't as simple as just boarding up the doors and windows. As a property owner, you're responsible for following a set of guidelines to ensure said property adheres to certain safety and aesthetic standards.
If you plan to board up a property for longer than seven days, you'll first need to obtain a permit from the By-Law Enforcement Officer. Any such permit is valid for a maximum of one year from the date issued and said permit comes with the expectation that you will use, to the satisfaction of the town, a proper panel-type material to secure all openings to the building. The remainder of the building must be maintained so as to not become dangerous or unsightly.
Any property owner who fails to meet these guidelines gives the Town the right to enter the premises and carry out any work necessary to bring the building up to code. The Town may charge owners for any work carried out.
You can read more about the Town's vacant building policies by browsing the pdf Vacant Buildings By-Law (204 KB) .