Based on complaints received from some concerned members, we are taking this opportunity to remind all REALTORS® about the rules surrounding the use of signs in the city of Hamilton.

The City of Hamilton Sign By-law 10-197 is a by-law that regulates the location, size, number, construction, alteration, repair and maintenance of all outdoor signs within the City, including real estate signs.

All signs located on public and private property within the City are subject to the provisions of this bylaw.

The sign bylaw defines “sign owner” as including any person described on the sign, whose name, address or telephone number appears on the sign, who installed the sign, who owns the property where the sign is displayed, or who benefits from the message on the sign, and for the purposes of this definition, there may be more than one sign owner.

Under Section 5.11.2. (i), an open house directional sign, that is, a temporary, free-standing sign advertising an open house, is prohibited except:

i)       between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. of the day of the open house;
ii)      with a maximum sign area of 0.5 m2;
iii)    not displayed on a traffic island or median or attached to a light standard or utility pole; and
iv)    at least 0.3 m from a sidewalk

Under Section 5.11.2.(j), a real property sale, lease or rent sign, that is a sign advertising the sale, lease or rent of real property, is prohibited except:

i)       for a maximum of 14 days after a firm sale is reported to the local REALTORS® association or after the agreement to lease or rent has been finalized;
ii)      if the real property sale, lease or rent sign is for one dwelling with a maximum sign area 0.6 m2;
iii)    if the real property sale, lease or rent sign is for any real property other than one dwelling with a maximum sign area of 4.0 m2;
iv)    with no illumination; and
v)     on the property which is being sold, leased or rented.

The fee for removal of an unlawful sign is $54 and the fee for storing it is $28 per day.

The fine for displaying an unlawful sign can range from $250 to $450 (charge by way of a ticket) or a maximum of $5,000 and $10,000 for a person and $10,000 and $25,000 for a corporation (charge by way of an information/court).

The fee for inspection is $250 for an initial inspection and $128 for each subsequent inspection.

For additional information on the sign bylaw please visit the City of Hamilton website. The sign bylaw can be found at:  Complaints can be emailed to or call 905-546-2782 (option #2).

To review the regulations for real estate signs in other areas of RAHB’s jurisdiction, visit