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Codes Violation Types "Quick List"

Codes Hotline: (615) 862-6590

This on-line brochure has been developed to assist citizens in maintaining and improving their neighborhoods, and to protect their health, safety and welfare, including their quality of life.

The Department of Codes & Building Safety is responsible for the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the Metro Building Code, Plumbing Code, Electrical Code, Fuel Gas Code, Mechanical Code, Property Standards Code, and Zoning Code. This brochure will give you a brief explanation of some specific Property Standards and Zoning Code violations which concern Metro citizens and which the Codes Department is responsible for enforcement. Property Standards Code or the Zoning Code To report a violation, call the Codes Hotline at (615) 862-6590.

Dilapidated Structures

(615) 862-6590

All buildings or structures (residential and non-residential) are now subject to the minimum maintenance standards outlined in the Property Standards Code. All are required to be in good general condition (interior and exterior) and maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

Inoperable or Unlicensed Vehicles

(615) 862-6590

Except as may be otherwise permitted by the Zoning Code, inoperable, unlicensed or unregistered motor vehicles shall not be openly parked, kept, or stored on any premises. Such vehicles must be repaired, licensed or stored in a garage or enclosure, or removed from the premises to comply with the Metro Property Standards Code.

Yard Areas

(615) 862-6590

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 or debris. It is the responsibility of every owner or occupant to remove all such openly stored items upon notice from Metro Codes.

Abandoned Vehicles on the Public Right-of-way

(615) 862-6590

Vehicles may not be abandoned on public property. Abandoned vehicles on public property are defined by State and local law as: (1.) vehicles which are “more than 4 years old” and remain unattended on the public right-of-way for ten (10) days, or (2.) vehicles in an “obvious state of disrepair” which remain unattended on the public right-of-way for at least three (3) days.

Vehicles, which have been abandoned on a ‘Vacant lot’, should be referred to the Codes Department—(615) 862-6590. Vehicles which are abandoned on Interstate Highways should be referred to the Tennessee Highway Patrol at (615) 741-3181.

Vehicles, which are ‘illegally parked’, ‘stolen’, or ‘obstructing traffic’ on highways, streets or roads, should be referred to the Metropolitan Police Department at (615) 862-8600.

Section 12.08.150 of the Metro Code of Laws provides that the Police Department may impound any vehicle when left parked in an alley, street, highway or thoroughfare for a period of 48 hours without current registration. Call the Metropolitan Police Department at (615) 862-8600.


(615) 862-6590

The Property Standards Code states that it shall be the duty of the owner of any building to remove graffiti and restore the damaged exterior surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair.

Graffiti on the Public Right-of-way, street signs, bridges, overpasses, etc. should be reported to the Department of Public Works at (615) 862-8750.

Business Operating in Residential Area

(615) 862-6590

A business may not operate in a residential zone district unless a Home Occupation Permit has been obtained. Before obtaining a permit, nine (9) conditions must be met by the applicant. The permit allows one (1) “non-resident” employee to work on the premises. No customers or clients may visit the premises. There shall be no visible signs from the dwelling indicating the type of business being operated. The area used for the Home Occupation Permit may not exceed 20% of the area of the premises, but in no event more than 500 square feet.

Repairing Vehicles in a Residential Area (615) 862-6590

Any homeowner or tenant engaged in the business of repairing or stripping vehicles in a residential zone district is in violation of the Zoning Code. Only vehicles owned by persons residing on the premises may be repaired on the premises.

Farm Animals

(615) 862-6590

Common domestic farm animals, exotic and native wildlife are restricted in residential areas. For residential zoned districts, the minimum lot size is five (5) acres.

Premises Identification

(615) 862-6590

All buildings and structures within Davidson County shall have approved address numbers posted in accordance with the Metro Property Standards Code.

Residential numbers shall be a minimum of 3” in size. Multi-family and commercial numbers shall be a minimum 6” in size. All numbers are to be posted on a contrasting background and be plainly ‘visible and legible’ from the street. Residences may have their numbers attached to the mailbox, if the mailbox is next to the street.

Tree Removal Ordinance

(615) 862-6488

It is unlawful to remove a “protected tree” without first obtaining a Tree Removal Permit. Protected trees are trees six (6”) inches or more in diameter on any property other than a property platted for a 1 or 2 family residential development. Removal of protected trees may create the necessity for the planting of ‘replacement trees’ based on an acceptable tree plan provided at the time of issuance of a Tree Removal Permit. The tree removal penalty will be determined by the Environmental Court Judge.

Parking and Paving Requirements

(615) 862-6590

The Zoning Code and Health Code specify that permanent parking areas containing five (5) or more spaces must be surfaced with a hard-surfaced, dustless material. The Property Standards Code further provides that vehicles parked at private residences may not be parked on the grass.

Yard and Garage Sales

(615) 862-6590

A resident is allowed no more than two (2) yard/garage sales each year, for no more than three (3) days at a time. More than two (2) generally constitutes doing business in a residential area, and is not permitted. The purpose for a garage sale is to allow a property owner or resident the opportunity to periodically dispose of unused or unwanted household items. Consignment sales are strictly prohibited.


(615) 862-6590

Any person erecting a sign without a sign permit is in violation of the code. If the sign is being connected electrically, an Electrical Permit is also needed. Portable signs are not permitted in Davidson County.

Sign locations can be in violation as well, i.e. if a sign is located too close to a property line, or within the right-of-way, the owner will be notified to relocate the sign to comply with requirements of the Zoning Code.

Signs are not permitted to be located in the public right-of-way, or upon utility poles.

If a zone change is requested, the owner is referred to the Metropolitan Planning Commission and the District Council person. If no action is taken by the owner after notification, legal action will be initiated.

Rooming and Boarding Houses

(615) 862-6590

A dwelling utilized as a rooming or boarding house may be a violation of the Zoning Code, i.e. too many apartments in one building. Rooming houses require permits. All residential zone districts limit the number of dwelling units on the property. Conversions of residential or other accessory structures are required to have proper permits prior to construction or occupancy.

When A Permit Is Required?

It is the duty of every person desiring to construct, alter, repair, enlarge, move or demolish a building or structure, or part thereof, or any appurtenances connected or attached thereto, or to install any heating, air conditioning/ventilation, mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems, to obtain proper permits. Building permits are required for roof replacements/repairs if the project involves repairs to more than one-third (1/3) of the building’s roof area.

Only properly licensed contractors may obtain permits or perform work in Davidson County. However, homeowners may be permitted to build their own personal residence or to perform work on their own personal residence or other residential property. Any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work being performed by a homeowner on a house must be approved, in advance, by the Chief Inspector or the appropriate Metropolitan Board according to the Metropolitan Code of Laws.