Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions? Consult the frequently asked questions to run through the most asked or to ask your own.

Why does the municipality require us to have a permit or a certificate of authorization before we can start to do work?

It is to ensure that urban planning by-laws are respected (ex. zoning, construction, subdivisions) that municipalities require you to obtain a permit or a certificate for any project covered by these by-laws. Issuing permits and certificates is the basic means by which we verify what is done regarding urban development in the municipality.

As a result, someone who intends to construct or use land or a building in the municipality must contact the person in charge of issuing permits and certificates to find out what conditions must be met. He or she will then know what the by-laws require.

We can also mention that all permits or certificates are duly archived at the town hall. The permits therefore allow us to keep a history of the work performed on a building or property.


Starting at what amount of work do we have to get a permit or a certificate of authorization?

There is no minimum. Regardless of the scale of the work to be done, you must obtain a valid permit or certificate of authorization.


How long does it take to obtain a permit or a certificate of authorization?

If the inspector has all the required documents in hand, the permit can be issued within 24 to 48 hours of the documents being received. However, depending on the nature of the work, the inspector may need up to 21 days to grant a permit.


For how long is a permit or certificate of authorization valid?

For 12 months. However, you must begin the work within 6 months of receiving a permit. If nothing has been done after 6 months, the town could cancel the permit.


Can we begin the work before obtaining a permit or a certificate of authorization?

No. You must have a valid permit or certificate of authorization in hand when you begin the work.


What can we do in the following situations: the branches or roots of a tree on our neighbour’s land are sticking out onto our land and water and snow from our neighbour’s roof is falling on us? 

You have the right to ask your neighbour to cut the branches or roots that stick out onto your land and you also have the right to ask your neighbour to install a rain gutter or snow guard that will keep the water or snow on his or her side. In both situations, it is the Civil Code that applies and the town cannot intervene. The town of Dunham can, however, act as a mediator to help reach an agreement. You can also get in touch with the Ministry of Justice at 1 866 536-5140 or by e-mail at


At what distance from the boundary separating us from our neighbour must we plant a tree or a hedge?

At a distance large enough that the mature branches and roots do not stick out onto your neighbour’s land, because it’s his or her right to ask you to cut anything that does so.


What is the procedure for making a complaint concerning urban planning by-laws?

All complaints must be made in writing (letter, city form, and e-mail). You must provide the full address of the offender, a description of the facts, your full address, and your signature. No verbal or phone complaints will be processed.