Frequently Asked Questions
Code Connect is a program that allows citizens to contact the Austin Code Department and talk to an experienced facilitator who can help them with general code questions, provide resource guidance, and give updates on their existing cases. Code Connect is here to Inform – Guide – Educate!
The Code Connect Facilitator will assess your question or the situation you are presenting. Then the facilitator will assist you in getting the answer to your question or a path to resolving your situation.
You are always welcome to call the Code Inspector assigned to your case. However, since Code Inspectors are most often away from their desks performing field inspections, they may not be available to answer their office phone. Code Connect is staffed with facilitators who are available for the citizen to call to get an update on their case.
Yes, you can call Code Connect anonymously. However, if you are calling Code Connect about an existing complaint, we will be very limited in terms of what we can discuss with you due to legal and privacy concerns. Just as importantly, if the complaint is made anonymously to 311, these same limitations are in place.
The Code Connect line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM.
Outside of these hours, please call 311 or your assigned code inspector. You can also visit the 311 homepage for more information.
No. The Code Inspector is ultimately responsible for their case. Code Connect Facilitators will provide case updates based on information found in the case material. The facilitator cannot provide case direction, nor can they tell an Inspector what action they must take. Please note that a person who is not a legal party to the case cannot be provided case information. A Public Information Request will have to be submitted in such instances by clicking here: http://www.austintexas.gov/public-information-request
The City of Austin Development Services Department (DSD) is responsible for these types of questions.
DSD Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/development-assistance-center
Austin Code Department does not conduct mold inspection or testing. We may address the contributing factors that fall under minimum standards. Mold is often a sign of other code violations.
Mold could be the result of:
- Improper home weatherization like unsealed windows or door frames.
- Water leaks from air conditioner units, sink pipes, or roofs.
- Ventilation problems that lead to trapped moisture.
Fixing the contributing factors
If you live in a rental property and have issues that contribute to mold, Austin Code may be able to assist. Rental properties include apartments, duplexes, townhomes, or houses.
If your property representative has not fixed the issue, you can call 3-1-1 or submit a report online. A code inspector will check for code violations. If there is a code violation, the landlord will receive a Notice of Violation. The landlord will have a “reasonable” amount of time to fix a problem after receiving the request.
Mold is often the result of excess water entering the home. See our flyer for tenants (Spanish here) and brochure for property representatives (Spanish here) for more information about what to do in case of excess water.
Minor mold issues can be prevented by following the guidelines below.
- Always use bathroom exhaust fans during and after bathing/showering or open a window.
- Use a towel or squeegee to dry wet surfaces after bathing.
- Use kitchen exhaust fans when cooking.
- Avoid using humidifiers unless there is a medical reason to use one.
- Ensure good air movement in your home.
- Open windows when possible.
- Don’t block air supply and return vents.
- Keep dust cleaned off of air supply vents.
- Keep a few inches of space between furniture and walls.
- Watch what you put down drains and toilets to avoid clogging and over-flows.
Visit the CDC website to learn more about mold.
Talk to a Code inspector
Call 512-974-2633 for general code questions and updates on your existing cases.
If you have issues with your landlord, Austin Tenants Council may be able to help. Their renters’ program provides counseling, helps with tenant-landlord issues and, dispute mediation. For more information, call 512-474-1961.
To learn your rights as a tenant, visit theTexas Attorney General Tenant Rights website. You may also file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents. Services are for renter-landlord disputes, home foreclosures, fair housing, and federal subsidized housing. Visit the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid website or call 1-888-988-9996.
Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (BASTA) gives renters strategic guidance and legal counsel. The organization also develops tenant associations and organizes tenants.
Read the Landlord and Tenants Guide for renters produced by Texas A&M University.
Mold inspections and removals
Austin Code does not regulate mold inspectors or companies that inspect for mold. These types of services are mold assessments. The department also does not regulate companies or individuals who clean up and remove mold. These types of services are mold remediation.
State requirements and licenses
The state of Texas licenses and regulates assessors and remediators. Find a list of licensed mold professionals on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation website. You can file a complaint with the state if someone is conducting mold activity without a license.
In most cases, yes. However, enforcement of insulation requirements is done as part of the permitting and inspections process for new construction and renovations. The Austin Code Department does not enforce insulation requirements.
For more information about insulation requirements contact the Development Assistance Center (DAC) at 512-978-4000.
Get a Private Hauler License
All private haulers that collect, remove, or transport waste, recycling, and/or organic/compost within the City of Austin must obtain a Private Hauler License (Ordinance No.20120628-012, City of Austin Code 15-6, Article 3). The license must be renewed annually, and is not transferable.
For complete instructions on how to get or renew a license, visit www.austintexas.gov/hauler.
An applicant must provide the following to receive a license:
- A completed City of Austin Private Hauler Application.
- A list of vehicles and containers
- Proof of insurance — a certificate of general and commercial auto liability insurance
- The annual State of Texas vehicle inspection certification for each licensed vehicle
- The semi-annual tonnage report
- Required vehicle and container licensing fees
Mail your completed application and documents to:
City of Austin—Austin Code Department
Attn: Finance - Waste Haulers
PO Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767
You can also submit your completed application and documents online by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original document will need to be submitted in order for your licenses to be issued.
The offices of the Private Solid Waste and Recycling Hauler Program are located at 5202 E Ben White Blvd, Suite 550, Austin, Texas 78741. This is not a mailing address. Applications mailed to this address will be returned.
The licensing fee for solid waste vehicles is $647 per vehicle / per year. The fee is due on or before the last business day in January of each year.
Recycling vehicles and containers are exempt from fees as long as they are used exclusively to collect recyclables and have blue recycling licenses. The license decals must be permanently affixed to the exterior vehicle doors.
Offenses are punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and, upon a first conviction, not less than $100. The minimum fine shall be doubled for the second conviction of the same offense within any 24-month period and tripled for the third and subsequent convictions of the same offense within any 24-month period.
Yes, Austin Code may revoke a license if a licensee does not comply with the law, pay required fees, or file required reports.
Please contact our Licensing Program Specialist at 512-974-9035 for information regarding licensing and reporting requirements.
Solid waste is rubbish, refuse and other discarded materials, such as tires and construction scraps (e.g. landfill trash or debris).
Recycling is a process by which materials are collected, sorted, processed or prepared into marketable commodities for manufacturing into new products.
Yes, the City of Austin spends $250,000 per year cleaning property where furniture, tires and junk have been illegally dumped.
Per Ordinance No. 20120628-012, you do not need a license. The licensing requirement is for businesses, which collect landfill trash and/or recyclables in Austin.
Find a listing of licensed haulers at www.austintexas.gov/hauler or call 3-1-1.
Get a Rooming/Boarding House License
The Austin Code Department requires an annual application, fee, inspection of property and a certificate of occupancy, prior to issuance of an operating license. Learn more about getting a rooming/boarding house license.
The fees are based on number of sleep rooms in the establishment. They are $489 + $13 per sleep room. Fees are prorated by quarter. All fees are non-refundable.
You will still need to be licensed by the City of Austin.
Yes. All establishments with 7 or more unrelated individuals living in it MUST be licensed.
By law, a residentially zoned structure cannot house more than six (6) people. In 2017, a plan was put in place to allow residentially zoned properties to legally obtain Rooming/Boarding House licenses. In order to do this, a person with a disability or someone representing a person with a disability must submit a Reasonable Accommodation Request to a City of Austin employee. The RA Request form can be downloaded at http://www.austintexas.gov/rooming-and-boarding. These can be turned in directly to the City of Austin Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Office or to the Austin Code Department with the Operating License Application.
Please see http://www.austintexas.gov/rooming-and-boarding for more information about the Rooming/Boarding House program.
The license is good until Dec 31 of the year of issuance. All fees for the next year’s license are due by that day.
The license is non-transferable. If a change of ownership occurs, the new owner must fill out a new application and submit all required paperwork and fees.
An inspector will contact you to schedule a time for an annual inspection. It does not need to occur before a license is renewed. However, if the establishment is being licensed for the first time, an inspection will need to be scheduled and passed before issuance of that first license.
The payment options are:
- Credit Card
- Money Order
- ONLINE Credit Card
- ONLINE e-Check
All Payment are made to “City of Austin”
No. To use the Controller’s Office website, it is necessary to set up a Tax Account with the City Controller. If your tenants don’t stay for less than 30 days, you would have to turn in a “zero report” every quarter to prove that you do not need to pay Hotel Occupancy Taxes. Please choose another payment method.
International Property Maintenance Code
How to Prevent CO Poisoning:
- Inspect flues and chimneys for cracks, corrosion, holes, debris or blockages.
- Buy fuel-powered heaters with automatic shut-off features.
- Fuel heaters in well-ventilated areas.
- Service heaters before the first use of winter season
- Open windows periodically to air out your house. Homes with energy-efficient insulation can trap CO-polluted air inside.
- Use a gas stove for cooking purposes only.
- Operate gas-burning appliances in a well-ventilated room.
- Never leave a car running in a garage.
- Use charcoal grills outdoors, never indoors.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors.
Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Safety.
Possible Sources of CO
- Gas stoves
- Hot water heaters
- Pilot lights
- Gas or oil furnaces
- Car exhaust fumes
- Wood-burning stoves
- Gas space heaters
- Tobacco smoke
Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Safety.
When a person breathes in carbon monoxide, it is absorbed by hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. "Carboxy hemoglobin" is then formed, replacing oxygen, preventing its release in the body and eventually causing suffocation.
- Mild Exposure: Flu-like symptoms including slight headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
- Medium Exposure: Severe headache, drowsiness, confusion and a fast heart rate. Prolonged exposure to medium levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can result in death.
- Extreme Exposure: Loss of consciousness, convulsions, heart and lung failure, possible brain damage and death.
While everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, unborn babies, infants and young children, senior citizens and people with heart and lung problems are at a higher risk due to their greater oxygen needs.
Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Safety.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, extremely poisonous and explosive gas that causes 1,500 accidental deaths and more than 10,000 injuries each year. CO is slightly lighter than air and mixes throughout the atmosphere. It is a by-product of incomplete combustion, produced when fuels such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline or wood are burned with insufficient air.
Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Safety.
The ordinance goes into effect on April 1, 2018. Learn more.
If the Alarm Sounds ...
If the alarm sounds and anyone in the house has symptoms of CO Poisoning
- Leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1 or an emergency response number.
- Have someone contact the fire department and consult the local fuel company.
If your alarm goes off and no one has symptoms of CO poisoning:
- Turn off all fuel-burning appliances that are possible sources of CO.
- Open windows to air out the house.
- Contact the local fuel company or a licensed technician to repair the problem.
Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Safety.
Carbon monoxide alarms may be purchased online or at local retail stores.
In a dwelling unit, a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm must be installed outside of each separate sleeping area and in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping area. A CO alarm must be installed within a sleeping area if a fuel-burning or solid fuel appliance is located within the sleeping area, a bathroom attached to the sleeping area or a garage attached to the sleeping area.
The property owner or property manager is responsible for the installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors.
License My Short-Term Rental
A total of $733.80 is due at the time your application is submitted. The application fee is non-refundable. This includes $687 for the Licensing Fee, the notification fee of $45, and the DSD Technology fee of $1.80.
Yes. Every person owning, operating, managing, controlling, or collecting payment for occupancy in any hotel (or short-term rental) shall collect the Hotel Occupancy Tax from their guests for the City. A tax payment account is required before a license will be issued.
Exceptions: Short-term rentals located in Austin's Limited Purpose Jurisdiction (LTD) are not subject to City of Austin Hotel Occupancy Tax but are required to obtain a license. Short-term rentals located in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) do not need a license or to pay local Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT).
You may call the City of Austin, Financial Services: Controller's Office at 512-974-2590, then press 1, or email: email@example.com.
You may also pay online at https://financeonline.austintexas.gov/afo/account_services/hotel/
If there were no rentals during the reporting period, a zero report must be filed.
The Short-Term Rental Operating License is for valid for 12 months from the time of approval and may be renewed on an annual basis. Licenses can be renewed up to 60 days prior to the expiration date.
No, the Short-Term Rental Operating License is non-transferable. This is per Ordinance #20120802-122, “a license may not be transferred and does not covey with the sale or transfer or the property."
Failure to obtain the required license is a violation of Austin City Code (operating without a license) and may result in enforcement action, including citations and fines.
Visit the Certificate of Occupancy webpage at Development Services for more information on how to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.
Register your Boat Dock
As per the ordinance definition, a boat dock “includes a wharf, pier, float, floating dock, island, boat dock, boat slip, boat lift, stationary platform, or other similar structure”.
City Ordinance 20140626-113 requires you to provide proper addressing of your boat dock. This is a mandatory measure put forth by the City of Austin.
To properly address your boat dock, your address should be located on the front of your boat dock and displayed above normal pool elevation. The signage must include the street address of the primary property associated with the dock on the lakeward side of the dock facing centerline of the lake or slough on which it is located. The letters and numbers must be at a minimum of two inches in height and must contrast with the background they are placed on (the preferred lettering is reflective but this is left at the owner’s discretion). The tag must be constructed with materials that resist water damage and deterioration by ultraviolet light.
There are three options to register your boat dock: by mail, in person, and online. The steps are as follows:
1. Complete the registration form found on www.austintexas.gov/boatdocks.
2. Attach current photos for proof of addressing.
3. Submit the registration form and photos:
• Mail: Via USPS Certified Mail/Return Receipt Requested to City of Austin-Austin Code Department, Attn: Licensing and Registration, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767.
• Walk-in: The registration form may be submitted in person at Austin Code Department, 5202 E Ben White Blvd, Suite 550, Austin, TX 78741. This is not a mailing address. Registrations mailed to this address will be returned.
• Online: The form and photos may be emailed to ACDLicensing@austintexas.gov.
After the Austin Code Department has received your registration form with current photos, the Austin Code Department Intake Office will process your application. Once received, you will be sent a confirmation notice. To get in touch with the Intake Office, please call 512-974- 9144. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00am-3:00pm. If you do not receive anything from the Austin Code Department regarding your boat dock registration after one week, please reach out through email at ACDLicensing@austintexas.gov. If your submitted registration form is somehow incomplete or invalid, the Austin Code Department will reach out to you.
There is no fee to register your boat dock.
Yes, you will need to renew your boat dock registration. Residential properties need to renew every 5 years. Commercial properties are required to renew every 2 years.
For those who may have more than one boat dock structure (for definitions of boat docks see "What is a Boat Dock?") located at the same address, you will only need to address one of the structures. At your discretion, address your most prominent boat dock. For all other questions, please email ACDLicensing@austintexas.gov.
Repeat Offender Program
The City of Austin requires multi-family and single-family rental properties (not occupied by the owner) that have met the following conditions to register for the Repeat Offender Program:
- (2) Received two or more separate notices of violation for conditions that are dangerous (likely to cause physical harm or injury to someone) or impair habitability (impair the quality of life for a tenant, such as problems with hot water, electrical service, heating, electrical hazard or infestation) for the same property within 12 consecutive months and failed to correct the violations within the time frame required.
- (5) Received five or more separate notices of violation for conditions that are dangerous or impair habitability (as defined above) which are issued on separate days for the same property with a 12 month period regardless of whether the violation was corrected or not.
- (2) Was issued two or more citations for the same property within 12 consecutive months.
The owner of a property must register within 14 days. If the owner would like to appeal the registration, they must submit a statement that supports the appeal. This must be in writing within 10 days and sent to: City of Austin, Code Department, Attn: ROP, PO Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767
Registration is $489.
The owner will be asked to provide his/her name, address, telephone number, and email address. If the owner is a corporation or association, the name and address of the registered agent on file with the Texas Secretary of State will be required. In addition, the number of individual rental units and buildings at the property and a telephone number that will be answered 24 hours a day by a local contact (i.e.: emergency phone number) will be required.
The registration certificate must be displayed at the property. In addition, signs in English and Spanish must include the emergency phone number for the property and information regarding how to report code violations. One sign for each 50 unit will need to be displayed and must be 12 inches x 24 inches and on weather-proof material.
Exceptions only apply to owner-occupied rentals and units regulated by another section of the code (such as hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts).
Registration is non-transferable. If the property is sold, the new owner will have 30 days to submit a new Repeat Offender application and pay a new registration fee (if applicable). If the rental property is made compliant within 90 days after the property is sold, the property will be taken off of the repeat offender list.
The property owner will remain on the repeat offender list for a minimum of two years. This information will also be available to the public at: www.austintexas.gov/department/repeat-offender-program