Your garage sale requires more than just a sign, table and money.
When you thought you knew it all about garage sales, you find outlaws are governing them in just about every city and town across Canada.
I honestly had no idea that there were garage sale by-laws, and in some cases, you must obtain a garage sale permit before you can even host one.
Know The Laws Before You Consider A Garage Sale
Over the past few years, I’ve been researching garage sales because we love to venture out on a Saturday or Sunday morning to see what bargains we can find.
Hosting a garage sale is a great way to re-use or re-cycle products by having someone else buy them, thus keeping them out of the landfill.
The great thing about a garage sale is the prices, but it can become costly for a homeowner who doesn’t follow city or town by-laws.
Let’s not forget that Health Canada also regulates what you can and cannot sell at your garage sale, so there definitely is some homework involved before saying yes to a garage sale.
Not only do you need a garage sale permit in some municipalities, but you also need to abide by garage sale signage by-laws as well when you can host a garage sale, for how long and for a certain amount of days.
I spent a few hours going through city and town by-laws throughout Canada, particularly in Ontario, where we live to find out the juicy details on garage sales by-laws, including the garage sale permit.
Are Garage Sales Legal?
Believe it or not, most municipalities in Ontario regulate garage sales, so before you start posting signs at the nearest intersection and pricing stuff you no longer use for sale, you must be informed of your rights as a homeowner and renter.
In Brantford, Ontario you are only allowed to host three garage sales per calendar year.
Not more than three garage sales may be held or conducted at or upon any residential premises during any calendar year, whether the same are held or conducted by one person, a combination of persons, or a succession of persons. By-law 171-2001, 12 November 2001.
Garage Sale Permit
Do I need a permit for a garage sale?
Yes, you might need a garage sale permit before you host a sale and not only that, there are laws in many municipalities that govern how you can display signs for your garage sale and other events.
In Hanover, Ontario, according to their online bylaw it states that homeowners do need a garage sale permit before a garage sale or risk being fined.
The same applies in Belleville, Ontario, where you must apply for a garage sale permit for the cost of $2 and with that also comes other garage sale rules that must be followed.
- Anyone wishing to conduct a garage sale shall apply to the City Treasurer of the City of Belleville or to any person designated by him and shall complete and file the form supplied.
- The fee for such licence application shall be the sum of Two Dollars ($2.00) per application.
The same goes for the Town of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, where you must first get a permit to host a yard sale or face a possible fine.
If you purchase your permit before 1:00 pm on the Friday of the weekend you are holding your sale, we will post your address and day of sale on our event calendar at no additional charge.
Visitors to our site can then print out a list of sales for the upcoming weekend, posted by 9:00 pm Friday.
The town classifies a yard sale as a “special sale,” and if you get your permit in advance, it will cost you $10, but if it is obtained on-site, it will cost you $50.
Hawkesbury, Ontario, also requires a permit to host a garage sale but offers free garage sales twice a year at the end of May and in October. Freebies are nice, right?
A permit is required to have a garage sale. The cost is $10 for 2 consecutive days. Two garage sales per year are authorized per household.
The Council has been granting two free garage sales per year, the last weekend of May and the long weekend of October. Source: Municipal Law Enforcement Hawkesbury
Residents in the Town of Champlain require a permit to host a garage sale; however, the first garage sale of the year is free, which means no permit is required.
After your first garage sale, the permit for a subsequent sale within a calendar year will cost you $30 in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
I find it interesting how by-laws differ from city to city, town to town in Canada.
Did You Know That It is An Offence To:
- Sell items other than personal property?
- Fail to obtain a garage sale licence?
- Hold a garage sale for more than 3 consecutive days?
- Hold a garage sale at an address other than indicated?
- Fail to display a garage sale licence?
- Hold a garage sale on a sidewalk, street or another public place?
- Hold a garage sale when prohibited?
Source: Champlain Township
If you live in Toronto, Ontario, you do NOT need to get a garage sale permit; however, they do have regulations around garage sales and where you can post your garage sale signs.
Note below that the city offers a complaint line for residents who find that those who make host garage sales aren’t following the rules of the bylaws.
A property owner may have two garage sales annually. One garage sale can last two consecutive days.
Homeowners must remove all signs advertising the garage sale once the sale is completed.
A permit or licence is not required to hold a garage sale or put up a sign.
If you wish to file a complaint about someone holding more than one garage sale or someone not removing garage sale signs, you can submit a service request online at http://www.toronto.ca/311 or call 311.
Yard sales are an excellent way to minimize waste and maximize the reuse and recycling of household items, in addition to putting some extra money in your pocket.
There are however bylaws that regulate yard sales.
Effective May 1, 2016, all yard sales shall be registered with the Town of Hanover. Residents having a yard sale can download the registration form and submit it either in person at the Municipal Office, by mail to the Municipal Office, or by email to email@example.com, at least one week before having a yard sale. Residents will benefit from free advertising of their yard sale via the Town of Hanover website.
Sales are permitted a maximum of three (3) times per year at any one (1) location and for no longer than two (2) consecutive days.
Source: Hanover Yard Sales
In Midland, Ontario, you do need a garage sale permit if you plan to host one on your property or face a fine by a by-law officer.
- No person shall sell or offer for sale under authority granted by this by-law, property other than personal property.
- No person shall hold a garage sale within the Town unless a permit is issued to do so, following the provisions of this by-law.
- Every person wishing to conduct a garage sale shall first apply to the Municipal Law Enforcement Officer or his designate for the issuance of the necessary license.
- The Town’s Composite Fee By-law shall determine the fee for a license to hold a garage sale.
- Such license shall limit the garage sale to one location and shall limit the sale over a period of two consecutive days to be set out in the said application.
- Such license shall further limit the hours of sale on the said two consecutive days from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm on each of the two consecutive days.
For more info in Midland, Ontario- Garage Sale Bylaws
That’s not all, so it’s best always to read the bylaws set out by your city to make sure you are not holding a garage sale without purchasing a permit or marketing with incorrect signage or placement of yard sale signs.
Not only that, but some municipalities may only allow you to host a garage sale during certain weekends or times of the year.
You may get lucky and find your town or city that does require a garage sale permit to often offer a garage sale permit-free weekend during the summer months.
What times can I host a garage sale?
Another thing you may want to be mindful of besides the possibility of needing a garage sale permit is the time frame you are allowed to host a garage sale.
For example, in the Town of Fort Erie, Ontario, you can host up to four garage sales in one calendar year, BUT they must be held between 8 am and 6 pm. Source: Fort Erie Bylaws
In Wasaga, Beach, you can only host a garage sale from 8 am-8 pm, so it differs from place to place, and really you must do your due diligence beforehand as I don’t think there won’t be any slaps on the wrist.
For those of you who live in Edmonton, you can at one location hold up to 3 garage sales in a calendar year for up to three consecutive days each.
If you go over three days, you must obtain a business licence.
The good news is that you don’t need a garage sale permit in Edmonton, but there are other bylaws to abide by everywhere else. Source: City of Edmonton Garage Sale By-laws
Avoiding a garage sale permit or other garage sale laws
Don’t even think about getting around the garage sale permit by calling your garage sale by another name because the definition of a garage sale pretty much is straight across the board the same.
Most of the laws that revolve around garage sales are straightforward, and the price of a garage sale permit won’t break the bank; however, a fine might set you back into the hundreds or even thousands depending on your municipality fines.
Garage sale – defined“garage sale” means and includes any general sale to the public of personal property from any residential premises in any residential zone as defined in the City’s Zoning By-law as may be amended from time to time and also includes, but is not limited to, all sales entitled “garage”,“lawn”, “yard”, “attic”, “porch”,“driveway”, “room”, “backyard”,“patio”, “flea market”, “rummage”, “boot”, “estate”, or “moving sales”.
How many garage sales can I have a year?
This really depends based on the by-laws set out by your city. For example, in Brantford, Ontario, homeowners are only allowed to hold three garage sales in one calendar year or face a fine.
Garage Sale Sign By-Laws
Not all municipalities have sign by-laws, but many do so again.
If you plan to market your garage sale, you must read the by-laws or contact your local city hall to find out what they are.
In the Town of Newmarket, Ontario, they have strict rules of what must be advertised on a garage sale sign and the dimensions of the sign that you must follow.
- Only displayed or erected after 5:00pm on the day immediately before the garage sale and must be removed no later than 7am on the day immediately following the garage sale;
- Maximum height 0.6m (2ft); Maximum width 0.6m (2ft);
- Shall be located within the untraveled portion of the road allowance, not including any centre median, traffic island or centre boulevard of a roadway;
- Minimum of 1.83m (6ft) from roadway
- Minimum of 0.6m (1.97ft) from sidewalks and driveways
- Must include the address of the property where the garage sale will be located;
- Must include the date of the garage
Can I use a park for a garage sale?
If you plan on using city property for any event, you should always contact the by-law office in your town or city for information.
Most often, yes, you will need a special permit to use private city property, and a fee may accompany that if allowed.
You may need a permit for this as well, whether adults or kids run it, so make sure to ask when you contact your local by-law.
I’ve seen loads of kids selling lemonade, cookies, muffins, hot chocolate, and coffee for profit or donate to charities while visiting garage sales.
I’m pretty certain that you’ll be safe; however, what I say and what the law says are two different things. Always find out if you’re not sure.
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Discussion: Do you need a garage sale permit where you live?
If yes, comment below with the town or city and the costs involved. If no did you know about the garage sale permit and other by-laws before today?
CBB Home and Blog Update
This past week I finally finished the new fence and am collecting the money from the neighbours.
So far all but one has paid their bill so we will see how that turns out.
On the agenda over the past week, we made our way to the apple orchards to pick the first crop of apples; however, a new variety has been released, so we plan to make our way back again.
We only picked a dozen apples for our son to experience what is was like to go to the farm which I think every parent should do yearly.
If we had the space to plant fruit trees, we might do so, but you must consider using the fruits every year.
I know many people who sell or give them away as my father-in-law did to friends and family, so it may be worth looking into.
For the summer, our swimming and baseball lessons have come to an end. However, we will keep up with soccer lessons into the new year.
Swimming will resume again in October, which we purposely did because we feel our son must learn how to swim at all costs.
Next week the plan is to start making basil pesto with our lemon basil and Italian basil, so we have enough to use through the winter and spring for cooking.
We don’t fancy paying high prices for fresh basil in the winter, and to be honest, we love fresh herbs in almost everything we cook. It makes a dish go from alright to damn fine!
The last couple of weeks before school will be spent labelling clothes and just about everything our son will use for school with our Mabel’s labels (awesome labels) and ensuring he has all he needs.
We will also be participating in some Fall events that will be happening in our area for kids.
Have a great couple of weeks!!
Frugal Recipe Pick
Have you ever heard of Mud Hen Bars before?
I haven’t, so the name caught my attention, as did the photo over at Shugharysweets.com but so did the ingredients.
Mud Hen Bars include a cookie dough base topped with melted marshmallows and chocolate chips.
That sounds good to me, almost similar to a S’mores bar but without a graham cracker base, but of course, you could certainly do that.
Fan Deal of The Week
If you have a deal you’d like to be featured on CBB, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo and small write-up of what you’ve found.
Here are today’s garage sale deals:
- Pencil case filled with pencils and markers plus two more boxes of pencils $.50
- Two baskets $.50
- Ladies t-shirt, shorts and Lululemon sports bra $3 (asking was $6)
Total spent $4
Thanks, Jen Peacock
Mr. CBB’s Thoughts Corner
Home and Garden
Something I’ve started even though it’s still summer is Fall garden clean-up chores which are very important if you want your garden and lawn to be gorgeous next year.
I’ve already started my compost heap as I’ve raked out the back of the house.
After installing the new fence, our plants took a bit of a hit, as did our grass, but by next year with lots of love, it will be lush and full of life again.
Never neglect the outside of your home. Every season counts.
Saturday Search Term Giggles
Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. (SIC) means I’ve copied the text exactly and it has spelling errors.
Most times funny, Sometimes serious.
- Should I sell my house for MPAC value? – Sure if you don’t mind losing money.
- How often should I shower?– Depends on how smelly you are.
- How to build a rock garden without rocks?– Good luck.
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- The Saturday Weekend Review #259: How to Sell Used Children’s Clothes at a Garage Sale
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