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  • Property Maintenance Requirements


DPS/Neighborhood Preservation
700 All America Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94088

(408) 730-7610

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Neighborhood Preservation


Property Maintenance Requirements

Property owners are responsible for maintaining their properties in such a manner as to avoid creating a visual nuisance to the public. The City of Sunnyvale has adopted a number of ordinances over the years to create and maintain a healthy, safe, and pleasant environment in which to live, work, and play. 

Some ordinances were enacted in response to health and safety needs such as preventing the spread of fires or ensuring the building of safe structures. Other codes help maintain the appearance of Sunnyvale neighborhoods.

The following is general information about residential property standards:


In order to ensure that safe and attractive fences are installed and maintained, the City has developed standards that guide the location, height, and construction of fences. Fences visible from the street must be maintained in good condition.

The existence of any fence or other structure or thing on private property abutting, fronting upon, or visible from any public street, sidewalk or place, which is in a sagging, leaning, fallen, decayed or other dilapidated or unsafe condition is a nuisance and must be maintained.

When installing a new fence, there may be Planning approvals and/or Building permits required. Please refer to the Planning Division’s Residential Fences web page for more information.


Property owners are responsible for removing graffiti from their property. The City is responsible for removing graffiti on public property such as street signs, parks, and public buildings.

One of the most effective means of discouraging graffiti is to remove it as soon as possible. If you continue to remove the graffiti, eventually those individuals involved in vandalizing the property will become discouraged and stop.

To report a graffiti complaint, please call the Graffiti/Shopping Cart Hotline at (408) 730-7680.

For more information about graffiti please click here.

Home Businesses 

Home businesses are permitted in the City with an approved Business License. The City has developed specific regulations pertaining to traffic, noise, and signage, which help to ensure that businesses in residences are conducted in such a manner that neighbors are not aware that a business exists. In order to maintain the residential character of the neighborhoods, there are specific requirements about how the business can be operated from a residential house. Please refer to the Planning Division’s Home Occupation web page for more information.

Junk and Debris and/or Outside Storage

The existence of any accumulation of litter, junk, machine parts, scrap material, plant cuttings or similar matter which constitutes a threat to the health or safety of any person or renders any premises visible from any other property or public way, unsightly and detrimental to the general welfare is prohibited.

Junk and debris creates a health and safety hazard to the neighborhood. Also, junk and debris detracts from the appearance of individual properties as well as the entire neighborhood.


For the purpose of regulating noise activities, the City has defined Daytime Hours as 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The following is a description of some of the different types of noise regulated by the City:

Business Deliveries: Delivery/arrival of goods, wares and merchandise by the use of a motorized vehicle, other than an automobile or train are limited to daytime hours for businesses adjacent to a property within a residential zoning district. (Businesses existing prior to February 1, 1995 are exempt from this requirement.).

Hours of Construction: The SMC 16.08.110 limits construction activity to the following hours:

Hours of Construction



Monday through Friday

7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sundays and national holidays

No activity allowed

Extended Hours Allowed for Single-Family Detached Housing When the Work is Performed by the Homeowner

Monday through Friday

7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Sundays and national holidays

9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Leafblowers: It is unlawful to use a leafblower in any residential area except between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.  All leaf blowers operated in or adjacent to a residential area shall operate at or below a noise level of 65 dBA (decibel level) at a distance of 50 feet, as determined by a test conducted by the American National Standards Institute or an equivalent.  The dBA rating shall be prominently displayed on the leaf blower.

Operational Noise: The City defines operational noise as continuous or frequent noise related to the basic use of the property. It includes, but is not limited to noise produced by: air conditioners, equipment for swimming pools or spas, industrial machinery, air compressors or fork lifts. Powered equipment or deliveries shall not be considered operational noise.

Operational noise shall not exceed 75 dBA at any point on the property line of the premises upon which noise or sound is generated. The maximum dBA for properties adjacent to residential zoning districts are:

     Daytime – 60 dBA

     Nighttime – 50 dBA

If the noise involves a steady, audible tone such as a whine, screech, or hum, or is a staccato or intermittent noise (e.g. hammering) or includes music or speech, the allowable noise or sound level shall not exceed 45 dBA.

Powered Equipment: Powered equipment is defined as any motorized device powered by electricity or fuel used for construction, demolition, property or landscape maintenance and repairs. It includes but is not limited to lawn mowers, edgers, parking lot sweepers, saws, sanders, motors, pumps, generators, fans, wood chippers, vacuums and nail guns.

Powered equipment used on a temporary, occasional or infrequent basis which generates a maximum of 60 dBA  shall be operated only during daytime hours when adjacent to a residential zoning district.

To report these types of noise after regular business hours, please contact the Department of Public Safety at (408) 730-7110.

Loud Music/Parties/Animals: Other types of noise that the City regulates are noises which stem from people or animals. Some of these types of noise include:

  • Parties which include loud music and people coming and going;
  • Dogs which bark all night;
  • Loud disputes between people;
  • Vehicle operators who drive by playing their music on the car stereo

To report these types of disturbances, contact the Department of Public Safety at (408) 730-7110 or 911 if it is an emergency.

Overgrown Vegetation

Property owners are required by the Sunnyvale Municipal Code to prune any vegetation that is encroaching into the sidewalk and/or street. Vegetation in the park strip (area between sidewalk and street) or on a private property must not impair visibility of the street or sidewalk and must not exceed 2 feet in height in the park strip.

Structures (Garage conversions, additions, sheds, etc.)

Garage conversions, additions, sheds, roof extensions, patios, or any other structures erected without the required permits are not allowed. These structures may need to meet certain requirements from the City’s Planning and/or Building Divisions.

Please call the  One-Stop Permit Center at (408) 730-7580 for information.

Trash and Recycling Containers

Trash and recycling containers must be stored behind the face of the house or out of public view. 

Vehicles (residential auto repair, parked on an unpaved surface, and other vehicle violations)

Auto Repair – Minor auto repair is allowed on private property only during the hours of 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. and occurring for no more than 72 hours.  Major auto repair must be in an enclosed structure and shielded from public view.  Vehicle painting is prohibited.

Parked on unpaved surface – Vehicles can not be parked on an unpaved surface at any time.

Parked on paved surface – Vehicles may be parked in the driveway, but must be operable and registered. The paved surface can only cover 50% of the required front yard. Inoperable or dismantled vehicles must be relocated to a garage or other enclosed area out of public view.

Vehicles parked on the street must be licensed and operable, and can not be left in one location for more than 72 consecutive hours.

Other – Boats, trailers, and recreational vehicles (RV's) must be parked perpendicular to the street. They must be on a permanent paved surface, and should not block any driveway. They both should be licensed and operable.

For abandoned or inoperable vehicles, please contact the Department of Public Safety, Nuisance Vehicle Hotline at (408) 730-7706.


The existence of weeds upon the premises, or public sidewalks, or streets, or alleys between said premises and the centerline of any public street or alley is prohibited.

Weeds must be cut regularly to avoid health and fire hazards. They detract from the appearance of individual properties as well as the entire neighborhood. When left unattended weeds can turn to seed and spread throughout the neighborhood creating problems for other properties in the area. Weeds can also provide cover or a food source for insects and rodents.

Commercial Properties

Commercial Properties have to abide by City codes and regulations. Some of these regulations include - landscaping, parking, lighting, signage (permanent and temporary) and maintaining the property free of debris or unenclosed outside storage. For more information about these regulations, refer to the Planning Division.

For questions and/or additional information, please contact Neighborhood Preservation at (408) 730-7610 or by e-mail at Neighborhood Preservation.

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