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Code Violations List

The Property Standards Division of the Metro Codes Department is responsible for investigating property standards, building, and some zoning code violations. Codes violations can be reported online through hubNashville or by calling the Codes Hotline at 615-862-6590.

Property Violations

Chapter 16.24 of the Metro Code of Ordinances outlines property standards violations in Davidson County.

Dilapidated Structures

All buildings (residential and non-residential) must meet minimum standards for maintenance. All are required to be in good general condition (both interior and exterior) and maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

Premises Identification

All buildings within Davidson County must have approved address numbers posted either on the building or on the mailbox. Numbers on residential buildings must be a minimum of three inches in size. Multi-Family and commercial buildings must have numbers that are at least six inches in height. All numbers are to be posted on a contrasting background and be plainly ‘visible and legible’ from the street.

Yard Areas

All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition. Except as otherwise provided for in the Zoning code, it is unlawful to utilize a premises for the open storage of any inoperable, unlicensed, or unregistered motor vehicle, appliance, building material, rubbish, tires, automotive parts, junk, yard waste, or debris.

High Grass and Weeds

Grass and weeds must be kept below 12 inches in height. Native plants and ornamental vegetation must be maintained so as not to be a nuisance.

Vacant lots must also be maintained to the same standards. Failure to maintain vacant lots or properties with vacant structures could result in Metro cutting the grass and placing a lien against the property for the cost of the mowing.

Accessory Structures and Fences

A fence may be erected without a permit, but it must be constructed of approved materials that are designed for that purpose. Solid privacy fences must be a minimum of 10 feet from the edge of the right of way.

The Metropolitan Zoning Code provides that for Screening Walls or Fences. The maximum permitted height shall be:

  • Two and one-half feet in height within ten feet of a street right-of-way (property line). Open fences, such as chain link or those of similar nature are permitted to be six feet in height,
  • Six feet in height in the remainder of the front setback (leading edge of house).
  • Eight feet in height within the required side or rear setback (side and rear yards).
  • Maximum height is measured from finish grade level on the side of the wall or fence with the greatest vertical exposure.

Sheds and carports that are 10 feet by 10 feet (10’ x 10’) in size or larger require a permit. All must be set within the required setbacks for the property. Utility sheds and similar structures cannot be converted to or be used as a living space. Detached garages can in certain cases be converted to living space. Permits are required before any work can be done.

Unsanitary Conditions—Hoarding

Owners of any building or accessory structure shall maintain the property in a safe and sanitary condition, free from conditions that would be hazardous to the health and welfare of the occupants. This includes the proper disposal of trash and garbage.

Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is the disposal of waste, trash, junk, furniture, tires, construction materials or debris, etc., in unauthorized or undesignated areas which is prohibited. Illegal dumping is commonly found in uninhabited or otherwise deserted areas, vacant lots, along roadways, in alleys, and at construction sites.

Graffiti

Owners of any building or accessory structure shall remove any graffiti and restore the damaged exterior surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair. Graffiti suspected to be gang related should also be reported to the Metro Gang Unit.

Vehicle Violations

Inoperable / Unlicensed Vehicles

Except as may be otherwise permitted by the Zoning Code, inoperable, unlicensed or unregistered motor vehicles cannot be openly parked, kept or stored on any premises. Such vehicles must be stored in a garage or other structure designed for that purpose. An open carport will not satisfy this requirement.

Repairing Vehicles on Residential Property

Only minor repairs of motor vehicles can be done on residential property. The repairs must be to vehicles owned by either the owner-occupant or their tenant. Major repairs that require dismantling the vehicles major components is prohibited. Repair or stripping of vehicles by individuals engaged in an auto repair business in a residential zone district is prohibited.

Abandoned Vehicles on Public Property

Vehicles may not be abandoned or stored on public property. Abandoned vehicles on public property are defined by State and Local law as: vehicles which are “more than four years old” and remain unattended on the public right of way for ten days; OR vehicles in an “obvious state of disrepair” which remain unattended on the public right of way for at least three days.

Parking and Paving Requirements

Motor vehicles must be parked on a hard surface, asphalt, concrete or gravel. Any permanent parking areas containing five or more spaces must be surfaced with a hard-surfaced, dustless material.

Vehicles cannot be parked on the grass. No more than 25% of the total lot area of a residential parcel can be paved and used for vehicle parking.

Zoning Violations

Business Operating in Residential Zone District

A business may not operate in a residential zone district unless a Home Occupation Permit has been obtained. Before obtaining a permit, a number of conditions must be met by the applicant.

  • No customer or clients may visit the premises.
  • There shall be no visible signs from the dwelling indicating the type of business being operated.
  • Only one “non-resident” employee is allowed to work on the premises.
  • The area used for the Home Occupation Permit cannot exceed 20% of the area of the premises, but in no event be more than 500 square feet.

Illegal Use of Property

All parcels have been assigned a zoning category and their use must be consistent with that assigned zoning code. Common categories are RS– Residential Single Family, CS-Commercial Services, etc. Failure to use a property consistent with its zone category and/or without a required Use & Occupancy permit is prohibited.

Farm Animals

Common, domesticated farm animals, exotic and native wildlife are restricted in residential areas unless lot size requirements are met. For residentially zoned districts, the minimum lot size is five acres. Only chickens are allowed, with permits. Permits are obtained through the Health Department.

Yard and Garage Sales

A resident is allowed no more than two yard/garage sales each year, for no more than three days at a time. Consignment sales are strictly prohibited.

Signs

The following rules apply to signs in Davidson County:

  • Portable signs are not permitted in Davidson County.
  • Sign locations can be in violation as well, i.e. if the sign is located too close to or in the right of way.
  • Signs cannot be placed on public property without permission, including on utility poles, light poles, and bus benches and utility boxes.
  • Banners can only be used to announce a grand opening, closing, and must be permitted.

Contact the Metro Codes zoning division to determine specific requirements that may affect your proposed sign before the sign is installed.

Rooming and Boarding Houses

A dwelling utilized as a rooming or boarding house may be in violation of the Zoning Code. Rooming houses require a permit. All residential zone districts limit the number of dwelling units on the property. Conversions of residential or other accessory structures into dwelling spaces are required to have the proper permits prior to construction or occupancy. Short Term Rental Properties are permitted for certain property owners.

Other Requirements

Permit Requirements

Anyone who constructs, alters, repairs, enlarges, moves, or demolishes a building or structure, or part thereof, or any appurtenances connected or attached thereto must obtain a permit.

Permits are also required for the installation of any heating, air conditioning, and/or ventilation system; mechanical, electrical, or plumbing system. Building permits are no longer required for roof replacements/repairs.

The construction of any accessory structure (other than a fence) larger than ten feet by ten feet (10’ x 10’) requires a building permit.

Repairs to structures of a general, maintenance type do not require a permit (e.g. replacing light switches, window panes, damaged siding, etc.). Contact our Building Division at 862-6550 to determine if your project requires a permit.

Only properly licensed contractors (see: license search and verification form) may obtain permits or perform work in Davidson County. However, homeowners may be permitted to perform work on their own personal residence or residential property. Any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work being performed by a homeowner on a house must be approved by the Chief Inspector or the appropriate Metropolitan Board according to the Metro Code of Laws.

Tree Removal Ordinance

It is unlawful to remove a “protected tree” without first obtaining a Tree Removal Permit. Protected trees are trees six inches or more in diameter on any property other than a property platted for a one or two family residential development. Removal of protected trees may create the necessity for planting of ‘replacement trees’ based on an acceptable tree plan provided at the time of issuance of a Tree Removal Permit. Metro’s Urban Forester Stephan Kivett can be reached with questions about the tree ordinance at 615-862-6488.

Landlord Registration

State law now requires all owners of residential rental units (one to four family sized units) are required to register their units with the Codes Department.

Owners must provide the department with their physical address and contact Information and, if the property is being managed for them, the location and contact information for that agency. Post office boxes are not accepted.

Registration is due annually by December 31. There is a single, $10.00 fee required each time the properties are registered. Only one fee is required which covers all of the rental properties a person might own. Landlord Registration Form.