Code Enforcement / Property Maintenance
The City of Denton works with residents and businesses to preserve the health, beauty, safety, and property values of the community.
To achieve this goal, Community Improvement Services addresses property maintenance violations such as tall grass and weeds, trash and debris, junk vehicles, illegal outside storage, and dilapidated structures.
Assistance from Other Denton Departments
The following issues are not addressed by Community Improvement Services. To ensure the fastest response to your complaint(s) we recommend you contact these departments directly:
Animal Services Department (Phone: 940-349-7594)
- Animal Complaints
- Barking Dogs (During Office Hours)
Denton Police Department (Phone: 940-349-8181)
- Noise Complaints (Report these complaints while they are occurring.)
- Vagrancy/Homeless Trespassing
- Cars Parked on the Street
Building Inspections Office (Phone: 940-349-8360)
- Work without Permits
- Buildings without Utility Services
- Zoning Issues
Development Services Department (Phone: 940-349-8360)
- Work without Permits
- Illegal Land Use
- Too Many People Living in a Building
- Garage Sales
- Commercial Signage on Private Property
Streets Department (Phone: 940-349-7160)
- Damaged Streets/Sidewalks
- Who is responsible for fixing code violations on a property?
Anyone with a form of control over the property can be held responsible for a code violation including, but not limited to, property owners, tenants, and property managers.
A property owner is ultimately responsible for all violations on the property; however, when addressing a code violation, Community Improvement Services attempts to determine the most culpable party and also educates all of the parties with an interest in the property in an attempt to correct current violations and prevent future occurrences.
- How long does it take for a violation to be fixed?
The time it takes to correct a violation depends on the type of violation being addressed. Some violations, like graffiti, have specific timelines established by the State that the City must follow. Other violation timelines are left to the City to create. Generally, owners and/or tenants of properties with a violation(s) are given two weeks to address the violation(s). MBS violations may take many months and sometimes up to a year to completely address. Extensions can be granted if mitigating circumstances exist or if progress is being made.
- What is the process the City uses to address a violation?
If a violation is found the standard process includes a Notice of Violation, a Citation or Court Summons, and a Work Order. Notices of Violation are designed to inform and educate residents about violations and possible solutions before any enforcement action is taken. The vast majority of the City's code violations are corrected voluntarily by property owners and tenants, without the need for Citations or Work Orders.
- How can I file a complaint with Community Improvement Services (CIS)?
The fastest way to get a code complaint inspected is to use Report a Code Violation. You can also file a complaint by mail, fax, in person, or by calling our office at 940-349-8743.
- Who is my Community Improvement Services Officer?
The City is divided into districts, and every Officer is assigned to a district. As the City grows and changes, districts grow and change. If you have a general question or would like to know who your district Officer is, you can contact our office at 940-349-8743. If you are ever contacted by our office with respect to a violation on your property the name of the Officer can be found in the documentation you receive, along with their direct contact information.
- My landlord won't fix anything in my apartment. Who should I contact?
Community Improvement Services has an Interior Complaint Officer who specializes in complaints of this nature. To file a complaint about the interior of your rental property, Report an Issue or call us at 940-349-8743 and use the prompt for tenant complaints.
- I received a notice from a Community Improvement Services Officer about a code violation my tenant caused. Am I still responsible?
Property owners are ultimately responsible for everything on the property, including code violations. However, if the Officer determines that the violation was caused by the tenant, the Officer will work with the tenant first in an attempt to get the violation corrected. If the tenant has vacated the property, the property owner will be responsible for bringing the property up to code.
- My tenant left the property and dumped all of their trash outside. Is it my responsibility as the property owner to clean it up?
Yes, property owners are ultimately responsible for everything on the property, including code violations.
- I’m afraid my neighbor’s tree is going to fall and damage my property. What should I do?
This is a civil issue between neighbors. The City does not currently have a code against dead, dying, or fallen trees. As such, Community Improvement Services does not have the authority to address this issue.
- The fence between my yard and my neighbor’s yard is broken. We don’t agree on who needs to fix it. What should we do?
This is typically a civil issue between neighbors. However, if the ownership of the fence can be clearly determined using property surveys, plats, or other observations or evidence, Community Improvement Services may be able to enforce the fence maintenance code to get the fence repaired, if the fence is visible from a public right-of-way like a road or a sidewalk.
- I think there are too many people living in my neighbor’s house. Is that a violation?
Possibly, the law states that no more than four unrelated individuals may reside in a single-family dwelling. This does not apply to family members. A family is defined by the law as two or more people related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
- Water from my neighbor’s yard is running into my yard? Is that a violation?
Typically no, this is a civil issue between neighbors.
- My neighbors are making too much noise. What should I do?
The Police Department addresses noise complaints. Contact the Police Department while the violation is occurring by calling 940-349-8181.
- My neighbor’s car has been sitting in the driveway “forever". Is that a violation?
It is not a violation to leave a car in a driveway as long as the car is operable and is in compliance with all other applicable codes. Vehicles that are parked on the dirt or grass, over the sidewalk, or considered junk or inoperable are violations.
- My Homeowner’s Association isn’t enforcing its own rules? What should I do?
This is a civil issue between the homeowner and the Homeowner Association (HOA). The City does not have the authority to enforce HOA rules. However, Community Improvement Services enforces City regulations everywhere regardless of whether or not a formal Association exists.
If you believe that your HOA is failing to enforce its own rules, you may want to contact your HOA Board of Directors or go to an HOA meeting to discuss the issue and solutions. HOAs generally hire property management companies to handle the care of public spaces in the subdivision and to enforce the subdivision's deed restrictions. All or a portion of your monthly dues usually go to the property management company to perform these services.
- My neighbor is running a business out of his home. Is that illegal?
That depends on the type of business and other factors. For example, it is legal for an accountant to run his/her business from the home. However, it is illegal for a home occupation to display signage of any kind.
A list of acceptable home occupations and their regulations can be found in the Denton Development Code.
- What are the regulations for tree limbs over the street, sidewalk, and alleys around my home?
Tree limbs over the street must be at least 13.5 feet high. Tree limbs over the sidewalk must be at least 7 feet high. Tree limbs over an alley must be at least 12 feet high. In general the adjacent property owner is responsible for the maintenance of trees. The City has the authority to remove hazardous, dead or dying trees in public rights-of-way.
Tree limbs over the street are exempt from this requirement if drivers can safely drive around the lower limbs.
- What’s the difference between a parking violation on the street and a parking violation on private property?
The Police Department addresses parking violations in the street. Community Improvement Services addresses parking violations on private property.
- There is a car parked in the street blocking my mailbox. Is that a violation?
No, the City has no ordinance preventing a car from blocking a mailbox.
- There is a car parked in the street blocking my driveway? Is that a violation?
Yes, contact the Police Department at 940-349-8181 to report this violation.
- There is a car in my neighborhood that is missing a license plate and/or registration sticker? Is that a violation?
If the vehicle is on private property, this is not a violation as long as all of the property maintenance codes pertaining to vehicles are in compliance. If the vehicle is parked in the street, this is a violation. Contact the Police Department at 940-349-8181 to report this violation.
- Our driveway is too small for all of our vehicles. Can I park in my yard?
No, parking on the dirt, grass, or over the sidewalk is a code violation.
- My car doesn’t run. Can I put a cover over it until it’s fixed?
Covering an inoperable vehicle does not eliminate this violation. If a vehicle is found to be inoperable it must be repaired or removed from public view.
- Am I allowed to store objects or leave trash in my yard?
Trash is always a code violation because it may attract vermin and threatens the safety of our community. Any trash on the property must be placed in a trash cart with the lid closed, or must be completely removed from the property.
It is illegal to store objects outside, with a few exceptions. For example, toys and bicycles can be left outside as long as they are not broken. Barbecue pits and grills may be left outside as long as they are located in the side or rear yard when not in current use.
- My garage is too full to store things. What should I do with the items in my yard?
It is illegal to leave items in public view when they are not being used, with a few exceptions. It is the resident's responsibility to choose the best way to abate this violation. Some options might be cleaning out the garage, installing a shed, throwing away unneeded items, or having a garage sale.
- What will happen if a resident doesn’t remove the trash in his/her yard?
Trash and debris is a serious code violation that attracts vermin and threatens the health and safety of the community. If a Community Improvement Services Officer has issued a Notice of Violation for trash and the violation is not corrected, the resident may receive a citation(s). The City can also correct this violation by cleaning the property and billing the property owner.
- Will the City pick up large items if I leave them at the curb?
The Solid Waste Department will not collect any item that is not in a trash cart unless you have requested a special pickup. Some items are picked up, and even recycled, for free. Contact Solid Waste at 940-349-8700 for more information.
- When am I allowed to leave large items out at the curb?
If you have scheduled a special pickup for the items, you can place them at the curb at 6 pm the day before your regular trash day. If you have not scheduled a special pickup, it is a violation to leave these items in public view.
- I have general questions about codes and commercial properties. Where should I start?
Community Improvement Services has a Commercial Team that specializes in commercial property compliance, email the Commercial Team.
- Do commercial properties have to follow the same rules as residential properties?
Generally, yes. Commercial properties must be maintained in a safe and clean condition at all times, in compliance with all applicable regulations.
- Do I need a permit to install a sign? Can I put my sign anywhere I want?
Every sign requires a permit to be installed unless the code governing signs specifically exempts it. The code also regulates the placement, size, number, and construction of signs. These regulations can vary depending on the type of sign and the zoning district.
If you need assistance determining whether a sign permit is required, you can email the Community Improvement Services Commercial Team or call Building Inspections at 940-349-8360.
- What is a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and how do I get one?
Every business operating within the City requires a Certificate of Occupancy, or CO. A CO confirms that your business is operating legally and your premise has been inspected for compliance with applicable codes.
Several City divisions are involved in the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) inspection process. During the CO process, Community improvement Services will inspect your premise for compliance with requirements provided to the business owner by a Development Services Planner assigned to this CO. The Planner uses the DDC to determine the requirements for each property. to see the Community Improvement Services CO Inspection tip sheet. Ensuring the items on this tip sheet are taken care of on your property will improve your chances of passing your CO inspection on the first visit. Failing the inspection will delay the issuance of your CO.
To obtain a CO for your business, submit an application and all required documents to Building Inspections. If you need assistance applying for a Certificate of Occupancy, contact Building Inspections at 940-349-8360.
- A Community Improvement Services Officer sent me a Notice of Violation. What do I do?
Read the Notice carefully. Make sure you understand the violation on your property, the comments from the Officer, and the penalty for failing to comply. If there is something in the Notice you don't understand, or if you need more time to comply, contact the Officer listed at the bottom of the Notice.
- A Community Improvement Services Officer sent me a citation. What do I do?
Appear at the Denton Municipal Court on the date and time on the citation. At that time you will meet with a City prosecutor who will explain your options.
You can also pay the citation fine to avoid going to Municipal Court, however, if the violation for which you were cited has not been corrected, you can be cited again.
To avoid citations, follow the instructions in your Notice of Violation if you received one. Work with your Community Improvement Services Officer if you have questions or need more time to comply.
- I need an extension to correct the issues on my property. What do I do?
Contact your Community Improvement Services Officer to request an extension. If an extension is agreed to, the officer will simply place a note in the case file. However, if the extension is for an extended period of time, he/she will request that you complete and submit an Extension Request Form to be placed in the case file.
If you left an extension request on a voice mail, call back the main line at 940-349-8743 or to the Officer's direct line to assure that an extension has been granted.
- I received a Notice of Violation from a Community Improvement Services Officer. I don’t think this is a violation, but the Officer thinks it is. What do I do?
If the Officer hasn't heard from you, he/she hasn't heard your point of view. Contact the Officer to discuss your situation. The Officer can meet you at your property or invite you to meet at our office, and you can present whatever information you have to the Officer. Maintaining a good relationship with your Community Improvement Services Officer helps the Officer learn more about you and your neighborhood, which helps him/her address violations to keep you and your family safe.
If the Officer determines that a violation does not exist, your case will be closed and no further action will be taken. If it is still determined that a violation does exist, you can work with the Officer on a "compliance plan" to bring the property into compliance. The plan may include giving you more time to correct the violation, or getting you in touch with other City departments or resources that can help you.