This page contains general information about code violations. For more detailed information or exact wording, consult Austin's Code of Ordinances. Report suspected violations by calling 3-1-1 or filing a complaint online. Once filed, a service request will be created for code enforcement, and the matter will be investigated.
Adult-oriented businesses, like all businesses, must be located in the appropriate zone. In addition, they must not be located within 1,000 feet of a church, school, public park, public playground, licensed daycare or a lot where another adult-oriented business is located. You may not run an adult-oriented business from your home.
Businesses and industries must have all required City approvals such as permits, site plans, inspections and certificates of occupancy. These regulate many aspects of the business, such as the number of parking spaces, type of lighting, type of signage, plumbing requirements, etc. If there has been a change in a local business that is affecting your neighborhood or home, the business may not be in compliance. View permits issued to specific businesses.
Property owners or their agents must get a permit to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, demolish or move a structure. In addition, they must get a permit to change the use of a structure (for example, to change a residence into an office). View permits issued by the City.
Dangerous structures must be made safe or demolished. Dangerous conditions include potential structural failure, exposed electrical wiring, heavy fire damage and abandoned, open structures. Vacant buildings must be adequately secured by fencing and/or boarding. The City of Austin enforces the Uniform Housing Code and the Dangerous Building Code to regulate dangerous structures.
Fences must be in sound condition and at an appropriate height. On a corner lot, fences must not block the view of traffic at the intersection. In residential areas, solid fences may not be more than 6 feet tall with two exceptions:
Code enforcement is notified of structure fires and sends an investigator to assess the damage and ensure the building is adequately secured. Buildings must either be repaired or demolished to meet code standards.
Austin residents may only conduct two garage or yard sales within one year. In addition, signs advertising garage sales may only be posted on the property where the sale is occurring for a maximum of three consecutive days. The sign must indicate when it was posted. If you conduct more than two garage sales a year, then you are considered to be running a business from home in violation of the City Code.
Garbage carts must be returned to their storage area on private property by 10 p.m. on the designated collection day. They should be placed at the curb by 6:30 a.m. on collection day but not prior to 8 p.m. the evening before.
Landlords are obligated to maintain their rental properties to the minimum standards set by the Uniform Housing Code and the Dangerous Building Code. Examples of violations include heating problems, plumbing problems, electrical problems, lack of weather protection and structural hazards.
You may not dump garbage or unwanted items. There are several landfills in the Austin area where you may dispose of items that you no longer want for a fee. Code enforcement pursues two goals with illegal dumping - ensuring the dump site is cleaned up and catching the perpetrator. If caught, offenders may be required to clean up the dump site and pay a fine. However, cleaning up the dump site is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner.
Austin residents may not accumulate garbage, rubbish, brush, filth, carrion or any other unsightly, objectionable or unwholesome matter on their property. In addition, you may not store any material on a vacant lot.
Mobile vendors may not be located on residential private property or property zoned LO (Limited Office), NO (Neighborhood Office) or GO (General Office) per City Code 25-2-812 - Mobile Food Establishments. On the right of way, mobile vendors are regulated by the Watershed Protection Department and the Austin Police Department.
No more than six unrelated people may live in a residence. In addition, there is a minimum square footage requirement for each person living in a residence.
Home businesses are highly regulated. Businesses that cannot be run from home include auto repair shops, contractor's yards, adult-oriented businesses and retail businesses. You also may not store commercial vehicles at your home.
You may not post a sign in the right of way or on public property. In residential areas, you may post the following signs on private property temporarily:
Off-premise signs are prohibited. For example, a garage sale sign can only be placed where the sale is taking place, or a house for sale sign can only be placed on the property where the house is being sold. In non-residential areas, all signs must be on private property. A permit is required for a permanent sign, such as a business sign. The City of Austin does not regulate the content of billboards.
Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Property owners must drain stagnant water on their properties. Typical sources of stagnant water include pools in disrepair, tires and buckets.
There are a number of regulations that concern the storage of vehicles in a residential area.
Please report junked or abandoned vehicles to the Austin Police Department.
Swimming pools in residential areas must be enclosed by an approved fence. In addition, swimming pools must be maintained to prevent them from holding stagnant water. The City of Austin's Health and Human Services Department regulates public pools and pools at apartments, hotels and motels.
Property owners must trim trees that hang over the street. There must be at least 14 feet of clearance at the curb line. The Parks and Recreation Department handles trees that fall and block the right of way.
Grass and weeds must be less than 12 inches tall.
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