Occupant handbook - Residence

Good housekeeping practices

When you move into your new home, you expect it to be clean and well maintained. You, in turn, are responsible for keeping it in the same condition while you live there. Your home, both inside and outside, must be kept clean and tidy.

Activities requiring Housing Services Centre approval

You must get the approval of your Housing Services Centre before going ahead with plans for your home. Please contact the Housing Services Centre well in advance to obtain approval to make additions or alterations to your home or to conduct commercial activities in your home. Some examples of activities needing approval include but are not limited to:

  • Operating a home-based business - A home business may be permitted if it does not bother your neighbours, offer unfair competition to local businesses, lead to any changes or excessive maintenance to your house, present a health hazard or is not in conflict with Base/Wing Orders. You will also need to carry appropriate insurance for your business, and make sure you are following all regulations and/or by-laws. Look into whether your municipality requires you to have a business licence, and – if it does – submit the licence with your request to the Housing Services Centre. Note that you are not permitted to post advertising signs outdoors or in the windows of the home, or solicit door-to-door in the residential area.
  • Alterations/additions to the residence - Please ask the Housing Services Centre for approval before making any alterations/additions to your residence. Any alterations and/or additions made to your house, and any labour, materials, tools and equipment will be your responsibility. Before you invest time and effort into your project, consult with the Housing Services Centre; they will want to inspect your work at different stages of the project, and again when you are finished, to make sure it complies with the National Building Code and Canadian Forces Housing Agency standards. Any projects that do not meet the code will need to be fixed, or removed, at your expense. Please note that the addition of bedrooms in the basement is not permitted because of fire safety regulations.
  • Installation of wall-to-wall carpeting - Please ask the Housing Services Centre for approval before installing wall-to-wall carpeting. All wall-to-wall carpeting you install shall be removed when you move out and the floors returned to their original condition at your own expense.
  • Interior painting and wallpaper - Please ask the Housing Services Centre about painting restrictions before painting; if painting is approved by your Housing Services Centre, all work will need to be inspected by the Housing Services Centre to make sure it meets the standards of the trade. If painting is approved by your Housing Services Centre and you decide to choose colours not approved by the Housing Services Centre, you will need to return the painted surfaces to their original condition at your expense prior to your departure.

Wallpaper can be applied, if approved by the Housing Services Centre, but only if it is dry-strippable. When you move, it will need to be removed and the walls returned to their original condition.

  • Oversized furniture - If you have large furniture that cannot fit through a door or stairwells, and need to remove large windows or alter the doorway or stairwells to bring the furniture into the house, please consult with the Housing Services Centre. You will be required to pay for all associated costs.
  • Specialty appliances - Permission must be sought from the Housing Services Centre to install any specialty appliances you wish to have. As well, their maintenance/repair and restoration costs (e.g. air conditioners, dishwashers, gas appliances, etc.) are your responsibility. The Canadian Forces Housing Agency is under no obligation to design future project or repair work around your specialty appliances, and if you decide to install these appliances, you do so at your own risk. Note that not all homes will be able to accommodate specific specialty appliances.
  • Fences, patios, sheds and dog runs/pens/kennels - Fences, patios, sheds and dog runs/pens/kennels will need to meet Canadian Forces Housing Agency conditions and standards. You are responsible for the maintenance and/or repair of any exterior structure you build. You will need to make sure all exterior structures are built soundly and are well maintained. Please request the proper form and requirements for submission from your Housing Services Centre. If you are building a fence in order to install a swimming pool or a hot tub, refer to paragraph “h” below. When you move out, you will need to remove all structures and restore the grounds to their original condition at your expense.

You can erect fences, patios, sheds and dog runs/pens/kennels on your lot with the approval of the Housing Services Centre. In order to prevent these structures from being placed casually around the neighbourhood and becoming unsightly, the Housing Services Centre will let you know where on your lot it can be placed.

  • Above ground pools, wading pools and hot tubs - Please contact your Housing Services Centre for approval and/or local restrictions, as well as Canadian Forces Housing Agency national guidelines concerning the installation and use of hot tubs and swimming pools. Such installations will warrant the installation of a fence before they are filled with water. You will also need to possess and be required to provide proof of appropriate liability insurance. When you move out, you will need to take out the hot tub, pool and fence, and return the grounds to their original condition at your expense. Note: hot tubs require a qualified electrician to install 240v extensions.
  • Satellite dishes - Please ask your Housing Services Centre before you install a satellite dish. The installation of this equipment is controlled in order to prevent damage to the building. If your equipment is not installed or maintained properly, it will need to be removed at your expense. Please note that the satellite dish must be removed at your expense when you move out.
  • Automobile shelters and sheds - Before purchasing and/or installing temporary shelters (automobile or other use) or sheds, please contact your local Housing Services Centre to find out about local applicable criteria, requirements, and/or restrictions.
  • Planting of flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and shrubs - Gardens and shrubs help make your home, and your community, more beautiful. However, there are problems that could arise because of root systems, poor drainage, etc., therefore you should request permission from your Housing Services Centre before planning. Some restrictions you may be asked to follow are:
    • Shrubs cannot be planted closer to the house or other permanent structures than their maximum growth height. If unsure, please consult with your local Housing Services Centre. You can ask your local nursery for advice. Once planted, you will need to nurture and maintain the shrubs.
    • Flowers and vegetables may be planted on your lot. Some restrictions may apply. If you plant a garden along the house, it needs to slope away from the foundation wall.

Barrier-free modifications

Modifications to increase safety and accessibility may be required in support of either Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members or dependants. Such alterations must be coordinated with the Housing Services Centre. Occupants are not to make required alterations to their allocated unit. A written request to the Housing Services Centre Manager with supportive documentation outlining the specific requirements to support the family member in question will be required. All modifications to the house will remain in the unit upon move-out.

Window blinds and curtain/drapery tracks

The Housing Services Centre does not provide you with window coverings. You are responsible for any installation, maintenance and removal of roller/Venetian blinds and curtain/drapery tracks in your house.

Water beds

You may not be able to use a water bed because of variations in the design and structure of the houses. Please consult with your Housing Services Centre.

Basement storage

Basements are built to be the foundation of the house. The weeping tiles and sanitary sewer systems are often old and, as a result, basements may be subject to flooding, especially after heavy rainfall and spring runoff. You should put your belongings on pallets and/or shelves to prevent possible water damage. Please do not store anything nearer than 75 cm (30”) around the furnace and hot water heater and keep your belongings away from electrical panel and water shut-off valves to allow prompt emergency access.


You will need to keep your lawn cut, watered and well-tended. You also need to take care of any shrubs or flower beds.

Water restrictions are a fact of life in many municipalities. You are expected to follow restrictions when these are in force locally.

Snow removal

For safety reasons please remove snow and ice from steps, sidewalks, pathways and driveways on your lot. If you are sharing a driveway, you are responsible for removing the snow from your portion of the driveway, as well as the entrance and central part of the area.

Water flushing

At most Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) housing locations, drinking water is provided by the municipality and often managed in part by the local Base/Wing staff and CFHA. Canadian municipalities and Base/Wing technicians conduct regular drinking water testing in accordance with the Canadian drinking water quality guidelines.

The majority of CFHA’s housing portfolio was built in the post-war era of the early to mid-1950s, and is representative of housing built across Canada at the time. While CFHA has undertaken significant upgrades and renovations to its portfolio over the years, some homes may still contain lead plumbing parts, such as soldered joints to connect the pipes. Such components were permitted in housing construction in Canada until 1986.

You should follow Health Canada’s recommendation to flush the water lines in your home prior to drinking the tap water, especially after water has been sitting in the pipes for a few hours. Flushing the water, especially first thing in the morning, can reduce your exposure to lead if it is present in your drinking water. More information and advice can be found on Health Canada’s website.

CFHA is committed to providing healthy and safe housing for its occupants. If you have questions or concerns about your drinking water, contact your local Housing Service Centre. 

Waste removal/recycling/composters

Garbage must be placed in covered metal or rigid plastic containers. To keep scavenging animals at bay, plastic bags alone should not be used for household waste. Please take note of the collection schedule and do not put garbage containers out prior to 5 p.m. the day before the scheduled collection or in accordance with local by-laws. Garbage is the responsibility of the occupant until it is placed on the garbage truck.

Where a recycling program exists, you are encouraged to recycle. You will be required to leave any recycling containers provided to you when you move out.

Where composters are available, they will need to be placed in a suitable location, preferably hidden from view. They are to be kept clean, secure, and to be emptied fully prior to move-out.

Use of pesticides

Skating rinks

To prevent damage to lawns and landscaping, the installation of skating rinks is not permitted. Many sites have rinks available in their community.

Asphalt and concrete surfaces

Asphalt and concrete surfaces can be badly damaged or stained by automobile fuel and lubricants. This can result in expensive repairs or at the very least an unsightly appearance. You will need to remove stains or spills from your driveway and garage floor as soon as they occur, or you may be charged for the repairs.

Excavation (call before you dig) 

You will need to get written approval from the Housing Services Centre before you begin any excavation work on the property. Please contact your local service providers (hydro, gas, cable, telephone, water and sewer) to make sure there are no underground services where you are planning to dig. While the work is ongoing, the excavation area cannot be left unprotected as it would create a safety hazard.

Locker storage

If locker storage space has been assigned, you need to keep it tidy and free of fire hazards. It is prohibited to use storage areas as workshops, as a play area for children or living spaces.


If you have a garage and wish to use it for anything other than storing your vehicle, please note that garages do not have the same level of weatherproofing as your house. There is a greater risk of incurring water damage to your possessions caused by leaks or condensation. If you choose to use the garage in this way, you do so at your own risk.


For everyone’s safety, please make sure your vehicle and those of your family members are not parked in a way that would block fire-fighting and snow removal equipment. Driveways, and the rest of the property, cannot be used to store non-roadworthy vehicles, or bulky items. Also, it is prohibited to park or drive a vehicle on the grass.

Storage of recreational vehicles

Recreational vehicles can’t be stored on your housing property, on base/wing streets or common areas. You may park a recreational vehicle near your housing unit for a short period of time – to load and unload – but you must inform your Housing Services Centre in advance.

Recreational vehicles include, but are not limited to:

  • motorhomes (class A, B, B+ and C)
  • fifth wheels
  • converted busses
  • truck campers
  • popup campers
  • tent trailers
  • travel trailers
  • boats

Check with your Housing Services Centre for the complete list. Some bases and wings have storage areas for recreational vehicles. Contact your Housing Services Centre for more information.

Sports/all-terrain vehicles, such as snowmobiles, jet skis, three/four wheelers and motocross bikes may be permitted during respective seasonal periods on your housing property, as long as they are:

  • operational
  • properly stored in the back yard, the shed, the garage or on a trailer in the driveway
  • don’t damage property, such as lawns and driveways
  • don’t pose a health or safety risk

Utility trailers may be permitted in the back yard if they are easily moved by hand and do not damage the lawn.

Parked trailers and vehicles can’t interfere with your responsibility to keep your yard clean and the grass mowed. You can’t drive a motor vehicle of any kind on grass areas at any time. Damage to grass/lawns is your responsibility and will be repaired at your expense.

You must always consult your Housing Services Centre as they have the final say as to what is permitted at their site, based on municipal bylaws and lot sizes.

Occupant owned recreational equipment

You cannot build or install any homemade recreational equipment, such as tire swings and forts, which involve the use of a tree. Other than swimming pools and hot tubs, there are no prohibitions or restrictions on the use of other recreational equipment such as children’s swings and trampolines. You are of course responsible for the safe operation and repair of the equipment placed on your property. You may be asked to remove any unsightly recreational equipment.

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