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11/27 - Buying, Selling

How Do I Know if My Front Yard Parking Pad is Legal?

Is My Front Yard Parking Pad Legal? |

Residential Off-Street Front Yard Parking Pad

In Toronto, property owners have several ways to park their beloved vehicles. For example, condos have underground or surface lots, and condo townhomes have designated parking spots or garages.

But, with freehold properties, there a countless options which can cause some confusion for both Buyers & Sellers alike:

  • Garages (detached, attached or built-in)
  • Private Driveways
  • Mutual or Shared Driveways
  • Laneway Access (to a rear parking pad or garage)
  • Right of Ways
  • A Front Yard Parking Pad
  • Street Permit Parking
  • Or, no parking at all.

As a team of Real Estate Brokers who help buyers & sellers both divest and acquire homes, it’s essential to ensure that we accurately represent the Seller when listing a property. Similarly, when representing buyers, we must ensure our buyers know precisely what they are acquiring.

Many factors influence property value, one of which is the value of a parking space.

In downtown Toronto, a parking spot is worth a lot. We’ve seen new construction condos selling underground spots at $75,000 – $100,000 per space. Regarding residential resale, we value a single parking space (for both condos & freeholds) at approximately $50,000 (+/-).

The subject of this article relates to Front Yard Parking Pads, so let’s start there!

Front Yard Parking Pad Licensing

As of 2007, new or unlicensed front yard parking pads were banned in most parts of downtown Toronto. However, there are exceptions for a few particular circumstances.

Before you purchase a freehold property advertised with Front Yard Parking, you must ensure that any existing Front Yard Parking facility is properly licensed.

Additionally, it is essential to know that the license does not follow the home automatically. The new property owner must apply to have the license agreement transferred. They are also responsible for renewing the license annually and keeping it in good standing.

How Does the License Work?

Currently, owners of legal parking pads pay the City about $270 annually for renewal. A Transfer Fee between homeowners is approximately $134.

Legal front pads are often (but not always) identified with a ‘small, white, city-issued plaque’ displayed on the owner’s porch or house front. If you see the plaque, that does not guarantee the pad is licensed (often, renewal fees have lapsed). Simultaneously, sometimes an owner needs to display the plaque or be made aware of it.

So, when visiting homes advertising Front Pad Parking, get into the habit of searching out the plaque.

Below is what the City of Toronto has to say about front-yard parking pad licensing:

Note that the license does not follow the property but that a new property owner will need to apply to have the license agreement transferred. Please note that disabled front yard parking licenses are not transferable to a new property owner. Please contact the appropriate district office for further information.

Not only is it essential to ensure that the current owner has maintained the license and is in good standing, but the new owners need to know to contact The City to transfer the license upon the successful closure of a purchase. In fact, we would put this directly into the Agreement of Purchase & Sale.

A quick call to the City’s Office of Permits and Enforcement can help an agent or buyer (or even a seller, if there is any confusion) to find out the status of a license and what steps need to be taken to transfer that license to the new owner:

Permits & Enforcement – Off-Street Parking
East York Civic Centre
850 Coxwell Ave., 2nd Floor Toronto
Ontario, M4C 5R1

Office Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Telephone: 416-392-7768

Due Diligence

Sellers need to learn the current status of their front yard parking pad before going to market. It’s amazing how many owners don’t 100% know!

Just because you have been parking there year after year does not mean it’s legal. And this certainly does not mean you should advertise your property on the MLS system with a legal Front Yard Parking space.

In the event of an estate sale or a power of attorney sale, the person responsible for the property on behalf of another deceased, unfit, or absent party, may not have the information about the parking situation. And often, the Seller’s agent needs to pay more attention to the legalities.

Consequently, take care before making your offer. Ensure your Real Estate Broker has done their homework. Parking has a lot of value in Toronto. Imagine paying a premium for a property to find out your parking space was expensive but also unusable. Plus, it won’t help with your resale values down the road if that “space” isn’t a parking space.

Just because it appears the neighbouring properties have Front Yard Parking does not mean you can introduce a parking space on your own front lawn. As mentioned, the City of Toronto banned new or unlicensed front yard parking pads, which cannot be grandfathered in.

These are some excellent clauses to include in your Agreement of Purchase & Sale that are helpful for non-legal parking pads:

Non-Legal Parking Pad:
The Seller hereby represents that the parking pad at the front of the real property is not legal. The Seller further represents that he has been using that parking space since “INSERT DATE” and has done so without objection. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the buyer hereby agrees to waive any objection thereto and proceed with this transaction.

Non-Legal with Encroachment:
The Seller represents, and the buyer acknowledges, that the parking space at the front of the real property is not legal and may encroach onto the mutual drive, as per the attached survey. The Seller further represents, and the buyer acknowledges that the Seller has used the parking space since without objection from the property owner who shares the mutual drive. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the buyer hereby agrees to waive any objection thereto and proceed with this transaction.

You may ask yourself, “Isn’t the parking situation clearly explained in the MLS listing”?

And the answer is “no.”

Listing agents that do excellent leg work and research will find all the correct information about the parking space (& beyond). However, many do not. And they will advertise the home as such. Mistakes are commonly made, leading to misunderstandings in this grey area. This is not exclusive to just front-pad parking – this also applies to private driveways, mutual drives, right-of-ways and laneway access parking.

Fortunately, we have outlined some great resources for prospective Sellers & Buyers looking for further clarity on their Front Yard Parking Space:


There are several resources you can reference as a starting point for learning more:

  1. Toronto Municipal Code – Chapter 918, Parking on Residential Front Yards and Boulevards. This is where you’ll find rules and regulations.
  2. Parking on Residential Front Yards and Boulevards Application. Here is the application, along with the requirements listed. Applications can still be made to acquire a front yard parking pad, but it is a lengthy process with a lot of red tape, fees, and special requirements that must be fulfilled.
  3. Locations Licenced for Residential Off-Street Parking. This is Toronto’s alphabetized list of licensed address locations that allow for a front yard parking pad. It also lists what type of parking they have. While this list is a handy resource, it is always wise to speak to someone at the Off-Street Parking Office to validate the information.

Lastly, if you confirm that there is NO parking with the home you are interested in and would like to inquire about the availability of street permits, the fastest way to do so is to email with the address of the property. Our personal experience is they are prompt in getting back to inquiries (within a few hours) and will confirm if street permits are available for the immediate area, if there is a waiting list, and what the cost breakdown is.

At Fox Marin, we’re always doing all we can to save you from an unpleasant surprise AFTER the transaction. If you are looking for a team of brokers who will do their diligence and watch out for your best interests in every way possible – this includes buying, selling and all things parking.


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This article is written by Fox Marin Broker, Ian Busher. With an extensive background in carpentry and contracting, Ian is our resident “Renovations Expert”! He takes pride in his ability to assess the quality and condition of a house. This, in tandem with his talent for speaking to the feasibility and cost of potential renovations, and his eye for the aesthetic details of a property, makes him a powerful partner for anyone looking to buy a home in the Toronto real estate market.