Exterior Property Maintenance

Exterior Property Maintenance Standards

The purpose of the exterior property maintenance chapter is to provide a minimum standard for the maintenance of the exterior grounds and visible facades of all properties within the city. This chapter is intended to help provide stable and inviting neighborhoods and business and commercial districts and to promote public health and safety by prohibiting certain deficiencies in exterior property maintenance which create or contribute to unhealthy or hazardous conditions. This chapter is also intended to ensure that property owners or their delegated agents perform such repair and maintenance of properties as will prevent deficiencies that could become an attractive nuisance with regard to children, trespassers or household pets or that may attract insect or animal pests.

The adoption and enforcement of this chapter is intended to serve as a deterrence to substandard exterior property maintenance and as a tool for protecting property investment, the tax base and the health, safety and welfare of all city residents.

Standards for Grounds & Exterior Property

It shall be the duty and responsibility of all owners of property in the City of Ithaca to ensure that all grounds on the exterior of the premise are kept free from solid waste and any litter.

Standards for garbage, solid waste, unlicensed vehicles, grass, weeds, public rights-of-way, trees, shrubs, fences, walls, steps, walks, driveways, parking areas, snow, ice and recycling are outlined in Chapter § 178-3, of the Ithaca Code.

Notification When the City Intends to Correct Violations

If the city intends to correct a violation of this chapter and then bill the property owner for the correction of the violation, the Building Commissioner or his/her designee shall notify the owner of the property and, where relevant, the registered agent who has assumed responsibility in writing, of any violation of this chapter. Chapter § 178-7


Any property owner and/or agent who violates any provision of this chapter shall be liable for a civil penalty. Each violation of this chapter and each day during which a violation continues, shall be deemed to be a separate violation. The civil penalties are outlined in Chapter §178-10.

How To Avoid Getting an Exterior Property Maintenance Ticket

In order not to receive a violation under Section 178 of the Ithaca City Code here is how you can comply:
  • Garbage can only be put out 24 hours before the scheduled pick-up time.
  • Garbage must be put into containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Garbage containers must be stored on the side or rear of property with tight fitting lids at all times.
  • If bags of garbage are placed out by the curb without being in a container, they must have garbage tags and only be placed curbside 24 hours before scheduled pick up.
  • At no time may you store un-contained garbage bags anywhere on the outside of the premises.
  • Discarded household items such as electrical appliances, couches, mattresses, tables and chairs shall not be stored anywhere outside on the premises.
  • Owner and tenants are responsible for all garbage or solid waste left out on the exterior grounds of said properties even if not put there by owner or tenant.
  • Cars may only park in designated parking spaces and may not exceed the allowable amount of parking spaces for said property.
  • Cars may not park on the grass or park where cars are causing a sidewalk obstruction.
  • Grass and weeds at all times must be no taller than 9 inches.
  • Bushes and trees must be cut back at all times as to not obstruct the sidewalk.
  • All snow and ice must be removed from sidewalk in front of said property 24 hours after the start of snowfall.