In order to protect the safety, health, and welfare of all residents, city regulations require that property owners keep their properties safe and well-maintained. To accomplish this task, Denver has roughly two dozen "zoning and neighborhood inspectors" (Z/NIS), who handle public education and code enforcement throughout the city's 155 square miles.
What do neighborhood inspectors do?
- Denver's neighborhood inspectors work to ensure our neighborhoods are safe and maintained according to the city's codes. They respond to all complaints and concerns.
- If there is a code violation at a property, the owner is notified and has at least 10 business days to correct the issue.
- We'll then re-check and work with the owner to resolve the issue, if it hasn't been fixed. As a last resort in cases of non-responsive owners, fines can start at $150 at our third visit and may escalate from there.
Examples of the most common complaints we respond to:
Items intended for outdoor use on a residential property such as picnic tables, children's toys and bicycles are allowed to be kept outdoors. Items intended for indoor use such as upholstered furniture and household appliances may not be stored outside. Tools, equipment and supplies utilized for automobile repair or construction may not be stored outside.
Parking on unpaved surfaces
Parking on dirt areas is not allowed. Allowable parking surfaces for single-family dwellings include 6 inches of gravel, road base material (recycled asphalt), asphalt, or concrete. Allowable parking surfaces for 2-unit dwellings or multi-unit dwellings include road base, asphalt, or concrete.
Too many cars
Denver households are allowed one vehicle per licensed driver, plus one extra vehicle. For example, a household consisting of three licensed drivers may have up to four vehicles at the residence. Additional cars would be considered in violation of the code.
Plant growth may not extend onto adjacent sidewalks, streets or alleys, or block visibility at street corners.
Fences must be maintained, built to proper height (generally 4’ in the front and 6’ in the sides and back of residential lots), and constructed with approved materials (no barbed wire, corrugated metal or salvage materials). Check to see whether your fence requires a permit.
Denver’s city ordinance requires that property owners keep sidewalks clear at all times. After snow has stopped falling, inspectors begin enforcement — checking for snowy/icy sidewalks in business areas the same day and residential areas the following day.
Parking or storing inoperable motor vehicles in any residential zone district is restricted to one vehicle that must be stored inside an enclosed garage. A vehicle that is not operable cannot be stored on the street or in a driveway of a home.
Residents may have one yard sale every six months in Denver, provided that the sale lasts for less than 72 hours, items offered for sale were not bought for resale or received on consignment for the purpose of resale, and all external evidence of the sale is removed immediately afterward.
Home occupations (at-home businesses)
Home occupations are allowed in Denver. The business must be operated by the resident in a completely enclosed structure, the primary dwelling unit or a detached accessory structure as allowed by the zoning code. The home occupation shall not display or create outside the building any external evidence of its operation. A sign of up to 100 square inches in size is allowed. See the Project Guide for Home Businesses for information.
Too many animals
The Denver Zoning Code regulates how many household pets can be part of a home residence. Violations occur when the number of household pets exceeds 2 rabbits, 25 pigeons, 2 domestic honey bee hives, or more than 5 dogs and cats combined (you cannot have more than 3 dogs as part of the combined total).
Construction without a permit
Most construction projects require a zoning permit and may also require a building permit. For example, construction of fences, sheds, and gazebos all require zoning permits and depending on their design require a building permit too. Check the requirements for your project under Home Projects.