Tips for buying a home or property

If you want to buy a home, property or business, there are many factors to consider. Knowing if recent upgrades, renovations, or accessory structures had proper permits and inspections can prevent unexpected and expensive surprises.

Permits and inspections ensure that work done meets building codes and safety standards. If work was done by a previous owner, the current owner has to bring this work into compliance with codes, standards, and bylaws.

Understanding requirements for permits and occupancy will help you plan ahead. Here is a list of resources to review before buying or selling a property.

Note: there may be fees associated with these services. Please refer to Planning, Development and Building Fees and Charges.

Permit search

The City offers a free permit search by address tool to look up construction-related permits issued since 2000.

To search for permits issued before 2000, contact Central Files:

phone: 204-986-7395

Building occupancy permits

Building occupancy permits are required for most commercial buildings. For more information refer to the Building Occupancy Permits Guide.

Installing equipment and furniture such as cupboards and shelving are considered a part of the construction process. But moving goods, inventory, or personal belongings into a building is considered occupancy.

A building occupancy permit may be required if:

  • The type of renovation creates the need for a new occupancy permit, such as expanding the size of the space
  • The activity of the occupant or use of the building is changing
  • The occupancy load is increasing
  • Business activity expands to an exterior space like a patio

A building occupancy permit is not required if:

  • The ownership or operating name of a business changes
  • The tenant changes, but the established use does not
  • An occupancy permit was already issued (no renewal is necessary)

Why compliance is important

If a space is occupied without a required building occupancy permit, the City may issue penalty notices until a permit is obtained. Enforcement action can be taken against both the occupant and the building owner.

For occupancy permits issued before December 1998, contact:
phone: 204-986-5136

For occupancy permits issued after December 1998 use:

Centralized property file search

File searches provide information about open permits, outstanding orders and violations from Licensing & Bylaw Enforcement, Fire Prevention and Zoning.

To apply for a search, email:

Zoning information

Winnipeg has two zoning bylaws: one for downtown and one for the rest of the city.

Zoning letters

The City can provide a zoning letter for property owners who want to know their zoning district.

Zoning Memorandums

For property owners that have a recent (within six months) Building Location Certificate prepared and sealed by a Manitoba Land Surveyor, the City can provide a Zoning Memorandum to state zoning compliance or non-compliance.

Verification of Use Letter

This letter is for property owners requiring confirmation that a current or proposed use complies with zoning regulations.

The letter does not address other elements of compliance such as the building code or the building classification under the Manitoba Building Code (MBC). While a proposed use may be permitted in a particular zoning district, the building itself may have been constructed for a particular classification of use under the MBC. The proposed use might need additional building or occupancy permits.

To request any of these documents, contact the Zoning & Permits Branch:

phone: 204-986-5140

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