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02/26 - 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 our beloved cars. For example, condos have underground or surface lots and condo townhouses have designated parking spots or garages. Now, with freehold properties, the options are garages, private driveways, mutual driveways, laneway access to a rear parking pad or garage, right of ways, no parking at all, or a front yard parking pad.

As real estate agents who help both buyers and sellers, it’s incredibly important to ensure that we represent the seller accurately when listing a property. Similarly, when representing buyers, it is of the utmost importance to ensure our buyers know exactly what they are getting. There are many factors that influence property value, one of which is the value of a parking spot, such as a front yard parking pad. Here’s what you need to know…

Front Yard Parking Pad Licensing

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

You may be asking yourself, “isn’t the parking situation clearly explained in the MLS listing”? This is an excellent question. Most agents who do the proper leg work and research will indeed find all the right data. They’ll verify said data to protect both the buyer and seller from misrepresentation of the parking specifics. However, mistakes are made and misunderstandings happen. Sometimes things that appear a certain way or done a certain way currently, may not be legal or guaranteed.

A front yard parking pad is an area we want to be very careful in doing our due diligence with. It’s important to ensure it is licensed and registered with the city and legal. This way, the new owners are able to continue parking there when they own the property, provided they transfer ownership, continue to renew the license annually, and keep it in good standing.

How Does the License Work?

At the present time, owners of legal parking pads pay the city about $270 annually. Those legal pads may be identified by a small, white, city-issued plaque displayed on the owner’s porch or house front. I say ‘may be’ because not seeing a plaque does not always mean the pad is licensed, and vice versa.

This is what the City of Toronto has this 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 do we need to ensure that the current owner has maintained the license and that it is in good standing, but the new owners need to know to contact the City about having the license transferred upon successful closure of a purchase.

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
Email: [email protected]

Due Diligence

Sometimes sellers do not know what the current status of a parking pad is. 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 relating to the parking situation. They may not do the research to find the parking for potential buyers. Take care to find out before making your offer with your agent: parking has a lot of value in Toronto real estate. One part of a good agents’ due diligence is ensuring you are not paying for a parking space, just to find out you can’t use it shortly thereafter closing.

Beware of this type language in a listing:

Current owner has parked in front of the home for 20 years without a permit and never had a problem!

While that’s great for the current owner, who knows how long it will be before a neighbour complains. The City could start enforcing and find that owners are not paying the right fees for a front yard parking pad and removes the privilege.


There a number of 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 have to 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 be wise to speak to someone at the Off-Street Parking Office to validate the information.

Lastly, if you know or confirm that there is no parking with the listing you are interested in, and want to inquire about if street permits are available, the fastest way to do so is to send an email to [email protected], with the address of the property. My personal experience is they are quite prompt in getting back to you (within a few hours) with a response confirming if permits are still available for the area or if there is a waiting list.

Contact Us (We’re Nice)

At Fox Marin, we’re always doing all we can to save you from a nasty surprise AFTER the transaction. If you are looking for agents that dig deeper and watch out for your best interests in every way when buying or selling, including parking, contact us. We’re nice!

This article is written by Fox Marin Sales Representative, 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.