Jump to: Common Violations
| Enforcing The Codes
| Solution Procedures (Abatement Actions)
What is Code Compliance?
This refers to how we enforce the City codes and ordinances affecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods. As a city, we want all of our citizens to be able to live happily in their homes, whether as a renter or an owner. Each one of these codes and ordinances have been established to assist in sustaining the high quality of life we appreciate in Fort Collins. We strongly suggest you take time to read each one, understand the consequences, and know how to report a violation.
Although Neighborhood Services enforces many neighborhood codes, some violations are handled by other City departments and in one case by a non-profit organization. The list below explains our most common violations and if another agency/department is involved, you'll see their contact info.
Abandoned or Inoperable Motor Vehicles More info
Inoperable vehicles (vehicles not currently licensed or incapable of operating) may not be stored on your property unless screened from public view. If you would like to report a visible inoperable vehicle on private property call Code Compliance at 970-416-2350. If there is an inoperable vehicle on a public street please report it to Police Services at 970-221-6540 ext 2. View the Code (Sec. 20-91).
Construction Noise More info
With construction comes lots of noise and the City recognizes that this can be very disruptive for neighborhood residents. The noise ordinance states that contruction noise is exempt between the hours of 7am and 8pm. However, under certain circumstances contractor's may obtain a noise variance that would allow them to work outside of these hours.You may report violations online or you may call Code Compliance at 970-416-2350. View the Code (Sec. 20-21).
Dirt Yards and Dilapidated Fences More info
These codes address physical deterioration of properties that affect the well-being of neighborhoods in Fort Collins. Violations will be given a reasonable amount of time for compliance and extensions will be granted for mitigating circumstances such as weather, working with assistance programs, etc. Enforcement will focus on alternative resolutions for violations through assistance programs and volunteer help. View the brochure for more information.
Outdoor Storage/Rubbish More info
Accumulations of rubbish such as vehicle parts, appliances, discarded household items, trash, branches and yard waste cannot be stored on your property (must be properly disposed of). The unscreened storage of materials not customarily stored outdoors in residential neighborhoods is restricted, including but not limited to: tires, construction materials, and household items. Broken toys and other miscellaneous house/yard debris must be shielded from public view or disposed of. No furniture designed and manufactured for indoor use can be placed in your yard, on an unenclosed porch/patio, or on the roof. These items can be a health or safety hazard, as well as an attractive nuisance for people and animals to disturb. View the Code (Sec. 20-41 and Sec. 20-42.6).
Parking in Neighborhoods More info
Motor vehicles may be parked on any part of the property as long as the surface is improved with a material such as gravel, rock, concrete or asphalt and bordered to define the parking area. Only 40% of the front yard may be improved for parking unless on street parking is not allowed. Parking in front of a neighbor's house is not illegal. View the Code (Sec. 20-105).
Public Nuisance Ordinance (PNO) for Multiple Violations More info
In 2000, the Public Nuisance Ordinance (PNO) was established to remedy chronic "problem properties." The City considers a property a problem when City Code violations occur on a regular basis annoying or disturbing others, and tickets were issued. The City considers property owners accountable for the use of their properties. After the first ticket is issued, the violator, property owner and property manager receive a letter from the City explaining the PNO consequences, and encouraging positive resolution so no additional tickets are issued. Visit the City Attorney's Public Nuisance Ordinance webpage.
PNO takes affect on a property when the following occurs:
- 2 tickets are issued for the same code violation within 6 months OR
- 3 or more separate code violation tickets are issued within 12 months OR
- 5 or more separate code violation tickets are issued within 24 months.
Trash Disposal More info
The City has specific codes (view Sec. 12-18 and 20-42) to address trash and outdoor storage. Please familiarize yourself with the following codes so you can help keep your neighborhood looking its best. If a complaint is made, a City Code enforcement inspector will investigate and if warranted, send a violation notice to the property owner and, if applicable, the tenant of the property. The owner or tenant then has 7 days to correct the violation. If not corrected, the City will provide the services to correct the violation and assess the cost to the property owner. In some cases a summons may be issued, requiring a court appearance. To report a trash or yard maintenance problem in your neighborhood, call Code Enforcement at 970-224-6046.
Trash Disposal Tips
- Trash must be stored in plastic or metal cans with tight-fitting lids, or in sealed plastic bags.
- Trash containers must be stored in areas screened from view of the street.
- Trash containers can be placed out for collection no earlier than 12 hours before scheduled pickup and cannot remain there for more than 12 hours after pickup.
- Trash cannot be placed on the street or sidewalk where it can interfere with bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles.
Yard Maintenance More info
The City has specific codes (view Sec. 20-42) to address trash, grass, weeds, rubbish accumulation and outdoor storage. Please familiarize yourself with these codes so you can help keep your neighborhood looking its best. If a complaint is made, a City Code compliance inspector will investigate and if warranted, send a violation notice to the property owner and, if applicable, the tenant of the property. The owner or tenant then has 7 days to correct the violation. If not corrected, the City will provide the services to correct the violation and assess the cost to the property owner. In some cases a summons may be issued, requiring a court appearance. To report a trash or yard maintenance problem in your neighborhood, call Code Compliance at 970-416-2350.
Yard Maintenence Tips
- Accumulations of rubbish such as vehicle parts, tires, scrap lumber, construction materials, old appliances, or leaves and branches in your yard also violate nuisance codes.
- No furniture designed for indoor use can be placed in your yard or on an unenclosed porch.
- Leaves and branches may be piled temporarily providing they are being gathered for disposal, but cannot remain in your yard for an indefinite period of time.
- Weeds and grass cannot exceed a height of 6 inches in yards/alleys or 12 inches in fields or undeveloped lots within city limits.
- Brush piles and noxious weeds are prohibited in all areas, as they are easily spread through the air and underground. For a list of prohibited weeds, visit the Larimer County Weed District.
- No more than 20% of a yard can be dirt. Dormant does not qualify as dirt.
- Fences cannot have broken, loose, damaged, removed, or missing parts.
Unshoveled Sidewalks More info
Residents are required to shovel sidewalks within 24 hours of snow accumulating. If a sidewalk is not completely cleared of snow and ice, the City may hire a contractor to do the work. The cost of this, in addition to a city fee will be billed to the property owner. The City will shovel driveway entrances and sidewalks if they are covered by a City snowplow after residents have cleared them. If your cleared driveway or sidewalk is covered by a City snowplow, report it to the Streets Department at 970-221-6615. View Sec. 20-102.
Enforcing the Codes
Typical Enforcement Timeframe for Most Violations
Inspection is performed, letter sent
Re-inspection is performed
If needed, work performed by contractor and/or ticket issued to property owner and/or tenant
Inoperable Vehicle Timeframe
Inspection is performed, letter sent
Re-inspection is performed
If needed, ticket issued to property owner and/or tenant
24 hours after snow accumulates
Inspectors patrol neighborhoods. Courtesy warning (note on door) for first-time offenders.
Snow removal is contracted and property owner is billed.
Our policies and procedures were developed to encourage compliance. This is achieved both proactively and through complaints from citizens.
Each day, we inspect neighborhoods throughout Fort Collins in an attempt to catch any violations before someone needs to complain. There are 4 Code Compliance Inspectors responsible for different areas of Fort Collins. These inspectors drive through the neighborhoods, normally Monday through Friday, observing and noting any City Code violations.
When a complaint is received, that area's Code Compliance Inspector is dispatched and will conduct an inspection within one business day of the complaint.
When There is a Violation
Upon finding a violation, a letter is sent to the property owner and a courtesy copy may be sent to the tenants and/or a property management company informing them of the violation and giving a date by which the violation must be corrected. After the correction due date, the Code Compliance Inspector will revisit the property. If the violation is corrected, the case is closed. If the violation is not yet corrected, the City will resolve the problem with an abatement action.
Solution Procedures (Abatement Action)
When a Violation is Not Corrected
After written notice, if a subsequent inspection continues to bear witness to violation of the Code, that violation will be abated (a contractor is hired to correct the problem [i.e. remove the snow and ice, mow down the weeds, remove the trash, etc.] and the property owner will be billed, or assessed, for the work, along with associated inspection fees) by the City. If you feel the solution (abatement) was done in error or if a property owner wishes to contest, challenge, or seek adjustment to an assessment invoice, there are two options available through the City: (1) A formal hearing before the Referee or (2) an administrative review by city staff. There is no fee for either option. Once the Referee or Staff enters a decision, the property owners will be notified of that decision. You should be prepared to pay the full amount of the assessment (if any) including fees and costs at the time of the decision. Unpaid assessments, including fees and costs, will be turned over to a collection agency and/or a lien may be filed against the property.
In some cases, a summons to Municipal Court is issued to the property owner and/or a tenant. The Fort Collins Municipal Court is responsible for administering the operations of the judicial branch of City government according to the ordinances adopted by City Council. Cases adjudicated in Municipal Court include misdemeanors and traffic violations. Generally, cases are brought to Municipal Court by Fort Collins Police Services, Colorado State University Police, Larimer Humane Society, City Attorney and other City departments. The fine schedule is set and periodically updated by the Municipal Judge. For municipal violations, the maximum penalty is $2,750 and/or 6 months in jail. For the current fine schedule and contact information, visit Municipal Court.