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10 Tips To Keep Bylaw Officers At Bay

Updated on May 9, 2011

Today I’ll give you 10 practical, must know, homeowner tips to help shield you from your city’s ever prying eyes into your home, so that you can enjoy it. What’s more, you’ll be following the law! How sweet is that eh, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Now normally, as ChrisEddy111 can attest, I’m a quiet, peace-loving, and rather reclusive kind of a person, but sometimes, whenever something happens that threatens my freedom, I just lose it and have to blow off some steam by writing it off my chest.

 By the way, you’ll soon come to know me and that freedom is a favourite topic of mine because it so unerringly touches everything around us, but back to what I was saying, er, writing.

So let’s say you just bought yourself a carved out piece of manicured lot complete with a lovely cookie-cutter home in a middle class town in the suburb where you’re surrounded by likewise charming yet debt-ridden neighbours.

You’re ecstatic, and more than anxious to fork over your hard earned cash to become one of the many house-poor citizens working to enrich the fat-cat banks happily believing the fallacy that you’ve achieved the quintessential dream of every person living in a free and democratic country; home ownership, including the freedom to do as you like in your own home (boy that was a mouthful). Anyway, how wrong you are.

This homeowner freedom you seek does not really exist (well maybe it did way, way back in the days when Clint Eastwood’s character in the movie Unforgiven (one of my favourite movies) roamed the wild country, but I digress.)

You see, your slice of high-priced respite you call home sweet home, is only yours to do with as you wish at the will of the city's bylaws and the irrational whim of, wait for it... your nosy, holier than though neighbours; mindless, cunning and sly agents of the government.

Yes I know. I’ve shocked you. Isn’t it, you say, enough that the government wastes our time and money creating useless laws to study some study, and rips the precious few dollars we have left out of our tattered pockets for so-called taxes. Now they further belittle us by poking their greedy noses into our quiet haven from this savage world we subsist in and cleverly encourage our misdirected neighbours to inform them of all we do, doing their dirty work for them, under the guise of being good citizens?  Exactly!

Well before you grab Clint’s Colt and start loading it up to shoot the messenger, you should know that:

1 – I imagine some blabbermouth neighbours really think that they are improving the neighbourhood by snitching, though most are just vindictive folks with nothing better to do with themselves;

2 - I absolutely believe that there are extreme situations where busybody neighbours are very crucial and very necessary, and

3 - just a little further down this page, I’ll give you 10 must know law abiding tips to help keep the government and their dreaded agents clear of your home.

That’s right. Back off the trigger now, slowly. Phew, OK read on.

Where I live, any citizen can call up the city and once willing to leave their personal information can lodge a real or feigned complaint against their neighbour anonymously (dare I say cowardly) thus sending the good bylaw officers (I’m being liberally facetious here using the word ‘good’) scurrying over to your home to investigate the unproven complaint.

So with city laws and intimidation on their side, the city’s bylaw officers can enter your home (with your co-operation or with subpoena/warrant in hand), crawl insect-like through every crevice of your home, liberally invade your privacy, and tread on your rights if you let them, then dictate to you how, when, who and what you can lawfully do to your supposed sanctuary. You see my friends, as one of these by-law officers so cheerfully told me, "it’s not what you want that counts, it’s what the city will let you do based on its laws." After all, you aren't the only citizen living there (can you hear me snort).

Before I start to trip on that subject (evil grin), here as promised are my 10 tips to help shield you from the government and your neighbour’s intrusions.

6) KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES. Every good book will tell you that when at war, a smart warrior knows their adversary’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their own to be able to use it against them when needed (see tip 10).

7) MAKE AND KEEP EXCELLENT NOTES. If bylaw officers end up going to your home, be sure to take notes during their visit/telephone call and as soon as possible after write down everything that occurred, everything said, all who were present, the date and time, reasons given and how the incident made you feel. Memory is subjective and not perfect. This serves as your personal record should you need to remember what occurred on those dates.

8) BE A SQUEAKY WHEEL! If an officer ever flouts proper procedure when dealing with you, stay calm and make sure you immediately bring this breach to their superiors using a paper trail. This may initially get you targeted by them, BUT if you follow the tips above and below, they may be less inclined to bother you or cross the line.

9) PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY! Ok, it’s all well and good to equip yourself for the possible dispute, but a wise person is one who knows which battles to fight and which to just laugh off. Indeed very minor scuffles are just a waste of good arsenal best saved for a more challenging day.

10) TIT FOR TAT ONLY WHEN NECESSARY! I left this one for last because frankly it’s distateful to me. It’s such a petty thing to do, but sometimes petty is useful and effective to keep irritating neighbours in line. Most mean-spirited people take joy in doing or saying things to hurt others but crumble when the same is done to them. Hence tit for tat, but use it wisely.

1) KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Let me say it again. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS as a citizen of your country. For Canadians, read the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the US, it’s the Bill of Rights. Read these laws the way you would read a good book. Knowing your rights puts you on an even level with the government and reduces any coercion.

2) READ THE BYLAWS! Before you buy, check out the prospective city’s bylaws to see how strict they are. This could help you decide if you want to live in that city. If you’ve already bought, get a copy of your city’s bylaws and read all of it so that you know what is allowed. Also, depending on the property you live in, you may need to know condo by-laws, neighbourhood association bylaws, or co-op bylaws/ articles as well. I would suggest you read the bylaws monthly until you know them as well as your own name, then just refresh every so often. Yes, it’s long and tedious but important.

3) TOW THE LEGAL LINE. Come on, you knew I was going to add this one. It’s pretty hard to squeal on or intimidate someone when all they do falls right within the letter of the law, if you know what I mean. Knowledge is power.

4) GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS! Speak with your neighbours regularly (not just the ones right beside you, but also the ones who are three, four and five houses away on either side of, behind and in front of you). If anyone is going to complain it will be those neighbours within this range. Usually neighbours you are friendly with will not be so quick to tattle on you and will likely speak with you first before taking any action.

5) ASK YOUR NEIGHBOURS WHAT THEY THINK OF EACH OTHER! This is a great way to learn if your neighbours appreciate privacy or if they are gossip mongers who love sticking their noses in everyone’s business; a sure sign of a probable tattler.

There you have it, my rant along with some positive information. Hopefully these common sense tips will prove to be as helpful to you as they have been for me.

___________________________________, my pen is a mighty sword!

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    • profile image

      Investigation Services  

      7 years ago

      Law enforcers should be the very role model of peace and order in our community. I bet the government sues them badly for if they have reckless actions.

    • callmefoxxy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Indeed Mickey Dee, indeed!

      callmefoxxy, my pen is a mighty sword!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      You know Callmefoxxy, they've questioned me, harassed me, but they just harass the wrong people to keep the spotlight off the wicked. Keep on keeping on.

    • callmefoxxy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @ChrisEddy111 - LMAO. Okay, maybe we'll just use those tips.

      @Micky Dee - Thanks. Good thing America's not my basement rental then because those bylaw officers would have to go question you about that zoo...

      @creativeone59 - Thank you for reading my hub. Unfortunately for me, they were hard learned advice, but I'm happy to share them with all.

      @fastfreta - lol, maybe only in Canada, eh. Here, if your nosy neighbours think, for example, that you have created a rental apartment in your home because they see new people living with you, and your home is located in a single family zone (meaning no rentals allowed), they can call the city’s bylaw office and make a complaint to that effect (that you have a rental). Upon receiving this complaint, city bylaw officers are then sent to your home to investigate the truth of this complaint often intimidating and invading one’s privacy unnecessarily; hence my story. My belief is that the government and nosy neighbours should stay out of the people’s homes and bedrooms, unless it causes harm to the inhabitants or visitors. (ok, I admit I’m still ticked over this one, lol)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Foxxy, I've never heard of the situations you mentioned, but you did give good advice.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      thank you callmefoxxy for a great hub, with fantastic advice.Thanks for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Hey- great advice. I live in the basement of your house though- you know -America. It's a zoo down here, I tell you.

      Thanks for the hub.

      Hey- what's that?

    • Chris Eddy111 profile image

      Chris Eddy111 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ok, sometimes neighbours sucks or rather some of them. There's usually the one from hell that makes you wish you could use that colt you mentioned. Oh yeah, no guns here in pristine Canada. Gosh, darn, guess I'll have to use those tips after all. Some good ones there. Thanks.


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