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Parents and Family

Knowing Local Laws

Local laws are different in every community. It is important your son or daughter understand the local City Codes and Ordinances in Fort Collins, particularly if they are living in an off-campus, residential neighborhood. In our community, we have ordinances and codes outlining what is expected of residents with regard to noise, yard upkeep, snow shoveling, trash and more. If you are the parent or family member of a CSU student living off-campus in a residential area, please talk with the student about these laws and make sure they are familiar with and understand the expectations prior to signing a lease off-campus.

Below are a few local ordinances that your student should be aware of:

Noise: Police officers responding to noise complaints have the discretion to decide if the noise coming from the student's property is unreasonable. They can issue a ticket of up to $1,000 per resident for the first offense.

Weeds: Weeds and grass can grow up to 6 inches tall. Tall grass and weeds can be reported to the Nuisance Hotline by neighbors. Encourage your student to keep their yard neat to avoid tickets!

Trash: Trash, sofas, appliances, car parts, and other junked items are considered health and safety hazards. If your student's trash is not in a trash can, the City may write a ticket or have the items removed at your expense. Trash containers within the city can only be out 12 hours before and 12 hours after pick-up.

Parking: It is illegal to park backwards on a city street, block a driveway, or park on a front lawn. If your student's car is parked on the street for more than 72 hours in the same place, it may be ticketed or towed at his/her expense. Although it is not illegal to park in front of neighbor's houses, it is neighborly to leave places for residents to park in front of their own home.

Snow Removal: Snow must be removed from sidewalks adjacent to your student's property within 24 hours of a snowfall. If the walk has not been shoveled, it can be reported to the Nuisance Hotline by a neighbor. The City will hire someone to shovel the snow at your student's expense.

Sofas: The City restricts all upholstered furniture in outdoor spaces. This includes all furniture visible to neighbors and passers-by. If your student is found to be in violation, he/she will receive a letter giving him/her 7 days to remove the furniture. If the furniture is not removed, a ticket can be issued resulting in a fine of up to $1,000.

Alcohol: In Colorado, it is illegal to possess, consume, or purchase alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Fort Collins also has a strict open container law which applies to everyone, even those 21 and older. Walking around with an open beer on a sidewalk or public place could earn your student a ticket. It is also illegal to sell alcohol without a license; this includes selling cups at a keg party.

Public Nuisance Ordinance: this local law is a tool for dealing with chronic problem properties. If your student lives in a house having any noise violation, warning, or tickets for trash, weeds, or over-occupancy, then the residence may be in jeopardy of becoming a public nuisance property. Violations of this ordinance result in a letter to the tenants as well as the owner of the property. If the property receives 2 citations (must be the same type of violation) in 6 months, 3 citations in 1 year, or 5 citations in 2 years, the owner can be sued by the City of Fort Collins and the tenants evicted. This ordinance encourages property owners to correct existing problems and take responsibility for tenants' behavior. More information on codes and ordinances that relate to parties...>>

Off-Campus TicketsHow They Affect Your Student's Status at CSU

More information on Noise tickets and other off-campus tickets that are forwarded to CSU...>>

The Importance of Lease Review

If your student is moving off-campus in the upcoming school year, encourage him/her to read, understand, and have his/her lease reviewed by an attorney before signing.

Encourage your student to take advantage of Student Legal Services (SLS) at CSU. SLS has reviewed many of the most common leases in Fort Collins. This service is free for all full fee paying students at CSU.

Does Your Student Live in a Dump?

If you or your student is concerned with the condition of his/her off-campus housing, you can contact the City's Building Department, 970-221-6760, to arrange for an inspection of the property. They will check for a variety of health and safety requirements including working fire alarms, proper egress windows, and more. This is done free of charge.


Colorado passed a riot law in 2002. If a person attends a party and is convicted of engaging in riotous behavior, the minimum penalty is automatic suspension from all universities supported by the State of Colorado for at least 12 months (in addition to fines and potential jail time).

Please talk to your student about the riot law. Off-campus parties can grow quickly. If your student finds him/herself at a party which has grown out of control or has become riotous, the best action they can take is to go home. Even if your student is not destroying property, their presence (even if they are just watching) is enough for police to charge them with engaging in a riot. This has serious financial and educational consequences.

CSU has been ranked among the nation's Top Character Building Institutions of Higher Education. Join CSU and the City of Fort Collins in their partnership to foster character development in our community!

Exploring Housing Options

Is your student looking for a place to live off campus? If so, encourage him/her to visit Off-Campus Life. It is an opportunity for students to one-stop-shop for places to live in Fort Collins. In addition to the CSU Housing Fair, encourage your student to visit the online listing service offered by Off-Campus Life. This listing service is a catalog of available properties in Fort Collins.