Common Code Concerns

In addition to the overviews of common code-concerns below, please review the City's Commercial Code Compliance Brochure and Residential Code Compliance Brochure, and feel free to contact the Office of Code Compliance with any questions. 

It is unlawful to park any vehicle on the unpaved or unprepared area of any property except during a Snow Emergency. Residents must obtain a 
City and County permit prior to installing or expanding a driveway. Impervious surfaces may not cover more than 25 percent of a front yard. 

Fences, Walls & Hedges
A City permit is required before a fence, wall, or hedge may be installed and all are subject to limitations concerning placement, height, and permeability. Additionally, the County requires a permit is obtained before a fence in excess of 48" in height can be erected. No fence gate may be designed or allowed to swing out across the public sidewalk.

General Property Maintenance
Inside properties, all walls, floors, and ceilings must be maintained free from cracks, holes, and peeling paint. The interior of every dwelling shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition free from rubbish. Building
 exteriors must be free of peeling paint, sagging roofs, broken windows, unsecured entrances, and other possible problems. Gutters and downspouts must be provided and maintained free of obstructions and in good condition. Sump pumps may not be installed so that water runs across any public way or damages adjoining property.

No property owner shall allow defacement (graffiti) to remain on their property. 

Lawns & Natural Habitats
Grass may not exceed 10 inches in height. This includes the grass bordering the front or side of the property and grass between the sidewalk and the curb. Bushes or hedges bordering a sidewalk may not exceed 42 inches in height and may not inhibit full use of the sidewalk. However, on occupied residential properties, areas that are actively protected, maintained, or cultivated for a use other than a lawn, such as a wildflower garden, wildlife habitat, meadow, or vegetable or herb garden, shall not be considered a code violation unless they are a threat to health or public safety, a fire hazard, a substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of neighboring property, or an obstruction of public right of way. To request consideration from the City for such lawn use, please contact the Office of Code Compliance. 

Lawnmowers and power tools may only be operated from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Loud noise that disturbs the peace of neighbors, such as music and large gatherings, is prohibited.

Dogs, cats, and other pets shall be confined at all times to the premises of their owners, except when under the immediate and effective control of a responsible person, specifically on a leash not to exceed six feet in length. 
No pet owner shall allow a pet to behave in such a manner as to create a public nuisance, which includes excessive barking or howling or the harassment of passersby. To report mistreatment of a pet, please contact the County at 301-780-7201.

Rental Housing
All rental housing must be inspected and have an annual rental license issued by the City. Download an application here. This license should be available for inspection by tenants and City officials. 

All property owners or their tenants are required to clean the sidewalks and trim common grass adjacent to their property. Property owners or tenants are also responsible for the removal of snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their properties within 24 hours after the cessation of the snow or ice storm.

It is illegal to display signs of any kind on public utility poles, medians, and in public rights of way. 

Door-to-door sales, sales from a motor vehicle, or the solicitation of donations require a City permit. A permit is not required for charitable or non-profit organizations to solicit, but prior registration with the City is mandatory. Religious organizations may proselytize without any permits.

Trash & Debris
Refuse receptacles must have tight fitting lids and be free of leaks. Residents are encouraged to place receptacles near the curb no earlier than 5:00 pm the night prior to collection and trash receptacles must be moved 25 feet from the front property line no later than midnight after trash pick-up is completed. Examples of prohibited trash include auto parts; construction debris such as wall board, concrete, rocks, and roofing materials; and hazardous materials such as acids, fuels, solvents, oils, oil-based paints, and medical waste. Such debris is also not allowed to accumulate on any property in the City.

Vehicle Repairs & Junked/Unregistered Vehicles

Vehicles may not be repaired on any public street or in any public parking lot. Minor vehicle repairs may be performed in a driveway or garage only, as long as the vehicle is titled in the property owner’s or tenant’s name and the work is performed on the property. Junked, unregistered (includes expired registration), inoperable, dismantled, or partially dismantled or substantially damaged or disabled vehicles may not remain on private property unless in a fully enclosed garage. Exceptions are made for car dealerships, auto repair shops, and towing company storage compounds.

Yard Sales
A temporary sales permit must be obtained before sponsoring a yard sale. Each residence is limited to two temporary sales permits per year. Signs advertising yard sales must be placed on free-standing sticks or poles which do not exceed 42 inches in height. The placement of any signage on utility poles or trees is prohibited. In April and October the City conducts Citywide Yard Sales, during which no permits are necessary, and the City helps advertise all participating sales. For more information on this event, please contact the Community Services Department at 301-985-5021.