COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19


You may complete the Complaint form online, in person, or over the phone. 

You may request Code Enforcement service if you suspect a code violation on private property. Your contact information is required so we may connect with you regarding the status of the investigation. Your identity is kept confidential by Code Enforcement staff to the maximum extent allowed by law; we are unable to take anonymous complaints.  We will need a detailed description of the concern and will provide information and referrals as available if the issue does not fall within the scope of code enforcement. 

Code Compliance Process

The Code Compliance Process is depends on which Category the Complaint falls under, depending on that category, inspection times and follow-up varies. To learn more check out our Code Compliance Process Flow Chart.

Code Compliance Process

Enforcement Priorities (Category 1 through 4)

Your concerns are important to us. We will assign priority to life and safety issues first as we work through our list of complaints. For a status report on your complaint, please email or call the Code Compliance Division.

Category 1: Imminent Life Safety Hazard – Immediate Response

 Definition:  Any condition which creates a present and immediate danger to life, property, health or public safety. (SCMC 4.01.010 [8])


  1. Structures in a state of collapse.
  2. Ungrounded electrical wiring.
  3. Unattended refrigerator with a door.

Category 2: Unsafe Structures and Equipment – Response within 48 hrs.

Definition:  A structure which is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of fire or because such structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is possible.  (International Property Maintenance Code, Section 108.1)


  1. Dangerous conditions after a fire.
  2. Extreme fire loads in a residence, i.e. hoarding.
  3. Sewage spills.

Category 3: Substandard Structure – Response within 2 weeks

Definition: A structure or premises in violation of Health and Safety Code Section 17920.3 (see below) and not Category 1 or Category 2.


  1. Broken windows.
  2. Accumulation of weeds.
  3. Mold.

 Category 4: Other Violations – Response within 30 days

Definition: Any violations not included in Categories 1,2 and 3.


  1. Long-term storage in the front yard setback (no immediate hazard).
  2. Home Occupations.
  3. Animals: i.e. barking dogs, too many dogs, roosters.
  4. ADUs in violation of zoning ordinance.
  5. Building Department Red Tags or unpermitted buildings that are no life/health/safety concerns.

Items Code Compliance Enforces:

  • Unpermitted units
  • Substandard housing
  • Illegal use of the building
  • Illegal home business
  • Property Maintenance (Rental Inspection Program)
  • Parking on private property
  • Over height fence
  • Use permit violations
  • Signs
  • Abandoned or discarded appliances or furniture
  • Construction work without permits


Items NOT enforced by Code Compliance:

 Item  Contact: 
 Infestation (insects,  vermin, rodents)  County Environmental  Health Department 
 Graffiti  Economic Development
 Waste Containers  Public Works (PW)
 Over Grown Weeds  City Fire Department 
 Parking and Public  Right of Ways  PW, Police Department
 Sewage leaks and raw  sewage  PW Sanitation Division, Environmental Health
 Smoking  Police Department
 Trespassing Issues  Police Department
 Mobile Vending  Police Department
 Abandoned Vehicles  Police Department
 Bed Bugs  County Environmental  Health


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