Fighting Blight: What is the Code?

The following sections outline what the City’s Minimum Property Maintenance Code requirements are. If your parcel or property meets these standards, there will be no Code Enforcement action taken against it.

Part I: Outside Walls And Features Outside Surfaces

  • All wood surfaces on the outside of the house need tobe painted or covered with a protective treatment. This doesn’t apply to decay-resistant woods.
  • Paint that is peeling, flaking or chipped has to be taken off and repainted.
  • All metal surfaces must be coated to prevent rust. If they have rusted, the rust needs to be taken off and they need to be coated.

Load Bearing Structures

  • These are the parts of the house such as rafters, beams and load bearing walls that carry most of the weight of the house. Without them, the house might collapse.
  • These parts must be in good condition and able to support the weight of a house.
  • They cannot have a lot of termite damage.
  • They must meet the manufacturer’s standards for installation - this means that they have to be level, plumb, sturdy and meet the manufacturer’s installation standards.

Foundation Walls

  • The foundation walls must be level and plumb.
  • They cannot have large cracks or breaks.
  • They must keep out rodents and other pests.
  • The space underneath a raised house must be free of debris.
  • The foundation cannot have any rotted columns or missing or leaning peers.
  • The foundation cannot be sagging or breaking.
  • Concrete cannot be crumbling or cracking.

Outside Walls

  • The walls must be level and plumb.
  • The exterior walls must be free from large holes, breaks and loose or rotting materials.
  • The walls must prevent water and wind from entering the house.
  • The walls must have a finish, such as paint or siding.
  • The walls must have an exterior finish and coating that makes them water tight.

Decorative Features

  • Cornices, belts courses, corbels, terra cotta trim, wall facings and other decorative features have to be in good repair.
  • They must be properly secured and anchored to the house.
  • They cannot be leaning or falling off of a house.
  • They cannot have deterioration that creates sharp or protruding parts.
  • They have to be painted or have protective treatment.
  • If the decorative features are removed, the interior framing of the house cannot be exposed.

House Numbers

  • Your  house  numbers  have  to  be  visible  from  the street.
  • The numbers must contrast with their background.
  • The numbers have to be in Arabic numerals or alphabet letters.
  • The numbers must be a minimum of four inches high with a stroke width of .5 inches.

Part II: Roofs 


  • The roof cannot allow rain or wind to enter into the house.
  • The roof cannot have broken or loose materials.
  • Shingles, flashing, felt paper and tiles cannot must be in good condition.
  • The roof cannot have extensive termite damage.
  • Roof drains, gutters and downspouts must be in good repair and cannot be blocked up. Gutters cannot allow standing water because this allows mosquitoes to breed.
  • Roof water has to drain towards the street and cannot drain onto adjacent property. Water can’t drain under your house because this weakens the foundation.


  • Chimneys and similar structures must be safe and in good repair.
  • None of the material can be falling off or crumbling.
  • The metal of a chimney cannot be touching any wood because this could start a fire. If you don’t want to fix a chimney you can remove it. If you do this you have to cap off the opening to prevent water from entering your house.

Part III: Yards And Lots


  • All trash outside of your house must be in a trash can or garbage bag.
  • Containers in the yard that can hold water must be empty and turned over.

Grading and Drainage

  • Water from your property has to drain towards the street. It cannot drain onto your neighbor’s property or under your house.
  • Your property must drain in a way that prevents standing water from accumulating.
  • The fill of your lot must be maintained and has to be replaced when erosion occurs.

Grass, Weeds and Trees

  • Yards cannot have weeds or grass taller than 18 inches.
  • You have to mow the grass along sidewalks and curbs.
  • You cannot blow grass onto city property (such as a street) and leave it there.
  • Dead trees must be removed from your property.
  • Poison oak, poison ivy and other unhealthy plants cannot grow on your property or sidewalk.
  • Dead trees must be removed from your property.


  • The City is responsible for damage done by tree roots or work done by city departments. Private companies are responsible for damage done during their work. You are responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in all other situations.
  • The sidewalks cannot have uneven surfaces or be blocked.
  • You cannot allow weeds or grasses that are over 18 inches high to grow on sidewalks.
  • You need a permit before you put any construction materials or dumpsters onto sidewalks or streets.


  • Your property has to keep rodents from nesting and has to prevent infestations. If you find rodents, they must be exterminated by approved processes which are not a threat to humans or pets.
  • Afterwards you have to fix the problem that caused the infestation. This may mean clearing debris or putting mesh over vents.
  • The city offers free assistance with rodent, mosquito and termite control. You can call the Rodent, Mosquito and Termite Control Department at (504) 658-2400. For rodents they offer extermination. For mosquitoes they spray and give mosquito eating fish that can be put in swimming pools. For termites they offer advice and information. All of their services are free.

Garages, Sheds, Fences and Free Standing Walls

  • They cannot have excessive deterioration that might cause them to fall apart.
  • The walls of the structures must be plumb and level.
  • There cannot be any loose pieces that might come off during stormy weather.
  • These structures must be painted or covered with protective treatments.

Part IV: Other Structures On Lot

Stairways, Steps, Decks, Porches and Balconies

  • These structures cannot be in danger of collapsing.
  • Wood cannot be significantly weak, damaged or deteriorating.
  • They have to be anchored to the house and they have to be able to support what they were designed to support.
  • Stairways cannot be blocked.
  • Steps cannot be missing.

Handrails and Guardrails

  • They must be firmly fastened and capable of supporting normal loads.
  • Wood cannot have deteriorated to the point where it might collapse.
  • They must be the proper height.
  • They must be secured and anchored to the building.

Motor Vehicles

  • You cannot have inoperative or unlicensed vehicles on your property except in an enclosed space.
  • You cannot repair, strip or dismantle a vehicle on your property.
  • You can only paint a vehicle in an approved commercial buildings with an approved paint booth.

Swimming Pools

  • Swimming pools must keep mosquitoes from breeding. You can use chlorine, cover the pool or stock it with fish that eat mosquito eggs.
  • Pool structures must be strong and in good condition.
  • Pools, hot tubs and spas must be surrounded by a five foot high fence to keep neighborhood children from falling in.
  • Pool gates must to be self-closing and self-latching.


  • Iceboxes and refrigerators cannot be left in a yard if they have airtight doors that can’t be opened from the inside. This is a hazard to children.
  • A refrigerator left in a yard must have its snap lock or doors removed.

Part V: Doors And Windows

Securing Your Property

  • You cannot have broken doors or windows or frames with nothing in them. You must either repair and replace them or properly board them.  This packet contains a separate form for how to board your house.


  • Doors, door assemblies and door hardware cannot have significant deterioration.
  • Screens cannot have large tears.
  • Glass doors cannot be broken.
  • All doors have to have working locks.
  • A door must fit into the door frame.

Window, Skylight and Door Frames

  • They must be in good condition and weather tight.
  • They must prevent water and air entry.
  • Windows must be operable.
  • Windows that open must have locks.
  • Windows cannot have any panes missing or broken.
  • Door frames have to be in good working order.
  • Door frames have to be level and plumb.
  • Door frames cannot have extensive deterioration.

Insect Screens

  • A window or an opening that is used for ventilation has to have a screen that covers it.
  • The screen has to have no less than 16 meshes per inch. Screens cannot have large tears.

Full Minimum Property Maintenance Code

Read the Full Minimum Property Maintenance Code.