Inspecting for Code Violations
New Castle County's code inspectors respond to complaints regarding potential code violations by inspecting the property. Violations that constitute a significant safety hazard - such as an old refrigerator without the doors removed that is sitting out of doors - are followed by a directive to correct immediately.
A Violation Could Mean a Ticket
Property maintenance violations could mean a $50 ticket for each violation. Upon receiving a complaint, Code Enforcement will perform an inspection. Code Enforcement will send a letter to the property owner listing violations found and give them several days (generally 12) to correct the violations. If the violation still exists when the property is again inspected, a ticket will be issued. If the violation is still not corrected, additional tickets may be issued until it is fixed.
Most Common Violations in Residential Areas
Overgrown grass and weeds: Grass must be maintained at a height or eight inches or less.
Structures in disrepair: Doors, windows, roofing, as well as accessory structures such as sheds and fences, must be maintained in good repair.
Vehicles: Motor vehicles and trailers on your property must be operable and have up-to-date registration. Vehicles, including boats and boat trailers, must be on a hardened surface.
Debris and junk: The yard should be free of debris, miscellaneous junk, branches, etc. Appliances and bulk items such as stoves, refrigerators, furniture and tires, are considered debris and must not be left out on the property.
Trash: Trash and garbage awaiting pick up should be stored in lidded containers at all times.
Animal feces: Should not be allowed to accumulate. Droppings should be cleaned up daily. Enforced through the police, pet owners are responsible for cleaning up feces deposited by their pets on others' properties within one hour.
Swimming pools: All pools capable of holding more than two feet of water (including above-ground pools) require a building permit. All pools must meet strict requirements including fencing, self-latching gate and, if applicable, electrical standards.
Encroachment on sidewalk: Bushes, hedges, fences, or tree limbs must not encroach on the sidewalk. No branch should be lower than seven feet over the sidewalk.
Vacant homes: Any home that is vacant must be maintained as if it were occupied. The grass and shrubs must be trimmed, the exterior in good repair, and doors and windows secured.
Home based businesses: There are many restrictions on home-based businesses to protect the residential nature of the community. Before beginning a home-based business, check with Land Use regarding the regulations and restrictions. Also, be certain to check your community's deed restrictions.