What you need to know about yard sales

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By Nick Seebruch
What you need to know about yard sales

CORNWALL, Ontario – Summer season is here, and there are a few municipal by-laws that residents should keep in mind before setting up their yard sales.

Yard sales can take place at any time of the year, and do not require a permit, however, each household is limited to two yard sales per-year.

That’s because according to  By-Law 200-2005 governing second hand goods shops, any household that holds more than two yard sales per-year is considered a business and requires a business license.

“This  business licensing By-law standard is intended to protect the business interests of second hand goods retailers  against unfair business competition that uncontrolled yard sales can present,” said Cornwall’s Chief Building and By-Law official Chris Rogers in an email to Seaway News. “We do receive complaints from  second hand trade business people , concerned/ alleging that yard sales are taking away from their revenue.”

Rogers explained that the limit was also intended to keep the interests of neighbours in mind.

“More commonly, complaints are received from area residents and or neighbours of those who conduct regular yard sales, concerned with the nuisance factor (traffic hazards etc.) and the operation of a ‘business’ in a residential zone where business operations are typically not permitted,” Rogers said. “Zoning regulations are generally such that business operations are not allowed in a residential neighbourhood.”

Rogers said that those who want to apply for a business license to have more than two yard sales per-year may do so, but cautioned that this would also require their property to be rezoned, which was not likely to be granted.

Those who have more than two yard sales per-year without a business license could be fined up to $305.

Non-profit organizations such as the OSPCA are exempt from the limit.

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