Exterior Property Maintenance

The Community Development Department enforces the Exterior Maintenance Code — City laws that establish the minimum requirements for the maintenance of buildings/exterior premises in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition. The purpose of the Maintenance Code is to prevent properties from becoming a blighting influence.

Code violations are typically related to exterior painting/siding, tall grass, inoperable vehicles, parking on the front lawn, etc.

Complaints regarding Exterior Property Maintenance issues are only dealt with once a complaint has been submitted. The City doesn’t have the capacity to inspect all properties.

If you have any questions or wish to report an exterior maintenance issue, please call the Planning & Zoning Manager at (440) 930-4114. Alternatively, there is a smartphone app, Avon Lake Engage. It is available for the iPhone, Android, and Microsoft Devices. Simply download the app and use it to report issues in the city.

Exterior Maintenance Code 1490

Vegetation and Litter Code 668

Violation Process – What to Expect

Staff will investigate all complaints we receive. When a property is found to be in violation, we will attempt to make contact with the property owner via a notification letter. The purpose of this contact is both to inform the property owner of the violation and to set a timeframe for repairing the violation. Should the exterior maintenance violation not be repaired, it is possible to issue a criminal citation against the property owner.  

Maintenance Standards & Violation Explanations

Exterior premises, including dwelling structures and outbuildings, must be maintained so that they reflect a level of maintenance in keeping with the residential standards of the immediate neighborhood. The buildings and exterior property should not constitute a blighting factor for adjoining property owners nor lead to the progressive deterioration and downgrading of the immediate neighborhood.  The owner of the property is responsible for keeping it in compliance with the Exterior Maintenance Code. The City intends to work with residents to bring all properties into compliance with these Codes. Nevertheless, violations of the above sections are criminal violations which could result in
criminal penalties for the owner.

Types of residential Exterior Property Maintenance issues:

  • Missing ground cover / bare spots
  • Grass and weeds over eight inches in height overall
    City code requires that grass and weeds be kept to a height of eight inches or less overall. When grass and weeds have grown higher than eight inches, a first notice is sent to the property owner. If there is no response in the allotted time, the City can send in a contractor to perform the work at the property owner's expense. For grass height only, compliance shall be within five days of notice given by the Zoning Administrator. The height of grass does not apply to a naturally wooded area.
  • Inoperable or unlicensed vehicle
  • Vehicles parked on the yard
    Not including recreational vehicles such as boats, campers, RV’s, trailers, etc. all of which can be stored on the driveway or anywhere in the rear yard.
  • Any deteriorating conditions regarding structures
    Sheds, decks, doors, driveways, exterior walls, fences, garages, porches, steps, window frames, windows
  • Improper outdoor storage, including household furniture, appliances, etc.
  • Refuse
    All exterior yard areas must be kept free of debris, trash, broken glass, stumps, tires, dilapidated auto parts, and similar items.
  • Peeling paint on siding or trim of any building, missing siding
  • Storage of firewood
    Front yards shall be kept free, and storage shall be prohibited, of all firewood, brush, logs or any other material intended to be used in fireplaces or other permitted burning facilities. Storage of such materials shall be permitted only in side or rear yards and under the following conditions: (1) The firewood shall be neatly stacked in an orderly manner a minimum of four inches above the surrounding grade and no higher than six feet; (2) It shall be cut firewood not to exceed 30 inches (length) per piece;  (3) It shall be stored at least five feet from the property line; and (4) It shall be stored in such a manner as not to constitute a fire hazard.
  • Compost piles
    Nothing shall be construed or interpreted to prevent persons from creating or maintaining a compost pile or piles for yard waste, provided that such pile or piles are not stored in quantities or locations prohibited by any provision of this chapter or by any ordinance of the City or law of the State. All compost piles: (1) Shall not be visible from the public right of way; (2) Shall not constitute a public nuisance or a nuisance to abutting and adjoining properties by providing a breeding place or attraction for, or by becoming infested with vermin, rodents or insects, or emit a smell or odor which annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or which endangers or injures real or personal property; (3) Shall not create any health or fire hazard; (4) Shall not be created or maintained in any front or side yard or located closer than five feet from any side or rear lot line; (5) Shall be permitted if the compost pile or piles are enclosed by a barrier on all sides which shall not exceed four feet in height;  (6) Shall not be in excess of one percent of the square footage of the lot or seventy-five square feet, whichever is less; (7) Shall not impede any natural watercourse or drainage from any property; and (8) May contain any organic yard waste or vegetable waste. Meat products, dairy products, food oils, and animal wastes are prohibited.
  • Sources of infestation by vermin or rodents
  • Overgrown hedges and bushes
    Hedges and bushes shall be kept from becoming overgrown and unsightly (i.e., covering windows, choking out other plants, untrimmed, etc.) where exposed to public view.
  • Street numbers
    On every building to which a street number has been assigned, such number shall be displayed in a size and location such that the number will be readily observable and readable from the public right of way which abuts the front yard.
  • Nuisances
    Covers other items that are offensive or annoying: i.e., When covering a pool at the end of the season, the pool cover must be constructed so as to prevent standing water from collecting on the surface of the cover.