About Code Compliance

The Town of Los Gatos Code Compliance Program's main goal is to ensure that the quality of life is maintained throughout our community. This program exists not to punish individual property owners, but to maintain the greater good of the community by achieving compliance with adopted codes. The approach works pro-actively and aggressively in resolving Town Code Violations.

The Town of Los Gatos helps maintain and improve the quality of the community in three ways:
  • Administer a fair and unbiased compliance program to correct violations of municipal codes, zoning codes, building codes, and land use requirements.
  • Work with residents, neighborhood association, business operators, public service agencies and other Town of Los Gatos departments to:
    • Empower Community Self-Help Programs
    • Develop Public Outreach Programs
  • Initiate special programs and projects targeted toward providing the best service and pro-actively resolving specific violations in different areas of Los Gatos.
The Town has many codes involving complex technical and sometimes legal issues which may lead to questions by residents and business entities. The following information will answer the most frequently asked questions about code enforcement in our community.

How Codes Are Enforced
The code compliance process is initiated in several ways:
  • Observation of a Town Code violation by Staff as they patrol the community.
  • As a consequence of an action, (for example, an application for a building permit or a request for a zoning variance.)
  • In response to a compliant by an individual.
Correcting Code Problems
Code Compliance Process
We first determine who has legal responsibility for the property where the violation or problem is occurring. We gain this information by referring to the latest records provided by the Santa Clara County Assessors Office. We then contact the property owner, in person or writing, to advise him/her of the problem and work out a schedule for correction that is both feasible for the owner and considerate of the surrounding community.

Should voluntary cooperation prove ineffective or impossible, the property owner is subject to one or more of the following remedies:

  1. Citation – The person must go to court for a hearing. Depending on what the judge decides, the person may be given additional time to correct the problem or may be fined. Failure to meet a time limit imposed by a judge almost always results in a substantial fine. The Town issues very few citations, but in certain circumstances they provide the most expedient method for a timely correction of certain problems.
  2. Administrative Remedies – These involve hearings before either Town Commissions or Boards, or before a designate of the Town Manager. They must be duly noticed so that the public has the opportunity to present their views, as well as the property owner and Town staff. Generally, because of the time involved in the noticing requirements, administrative remedies take four to six months.
  3. Injunctive Relief – In the most serious cases where all administrative remedies have been exhausted and citations have not brought compliance, the Town can obtain an injunction against the property owner requiring that he/she fulfill requirements of the Town code. Failure to fulfill the conditions of the injunction (assuming it is granted) results in the judge finding that the property owner is in Contempt of Court and imposing sanctions.
[back to top]

Town Codes to Promote Quality of Life
Garbage, trash, appliances, car parts, etc.
Accumulating garbage (wet or dry), trash, appliances, car parts, old furniture, recyclable and scrap materials is a public nuisance. In no circumstances may these items be stored outside of a fully enclosed area. Property must be kept tidy not only to maintain an attractive environment, but also to reduce fire, rodent and wildlife problems.

Illegal Dumping
Anyone seen dumping trash in public or private places, or putting anything into storm drains, will be prosecuted if the following information is available: Eyewitness testimony, plus either the name and address of the dumper (if known), or a vehicle license plate number and a physical description of the dumper and this person can be later identified. Dumping is a particular problem in easements that run along the rear property lines in many neighborhoods.

Landscaping overgrowth is unsightly. It also creates fire hazards. If you have a lawn, keep it less than 4" high. Other ground covers should be kept free of weeds. Though the Town discourages ivy because it provides cover for rodents, well watered and maintained ivy or other ground covers can be an attractive alternative to a traditional lawn, with less maintenance and water usage.

Nothing blights a neighborhood as badly as graffiti. The only way to discourage future graffiti is to paint it out immediately. If you are unable to do so, the Town can paint it for you. You are encouraged to talk to merchants about graffiti on their property. You may also call the Graffiti Hotline at (408) 354-6863 or report graffiti online.

[back to top]

How to Notify Town of Possible Code Violation
For information on how to make a complaint, please view our Questions and Complaints section.