Property Maintenance

The Property Maintenance Department is charged with the task of protecting the public health, safety and welfare in both existing residential and non residential structures on all existing premises. We are responsible for investigating possible violations to include, but not limited to, open storage, unlicensed or inoperable vehicles, junkyards, tall weeds and grass complaints, prohibited sign violations, unsafe structures and sub-standard housing.

Political Signs

All signs erected within the non-incorporated areas of Rutherford County, including political signs pertaining to a specific election, are regulated by the Rutherford County Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 12.  A summary of Section 1206, Temporary Signs, states the following:

Temporary signs containing noncommercial reference to political parties or candidates for election may be erected or displayed and maintained given the following conditions: 
1. The size of any such sign is not to exceed thirty-two (32) square feet on a property greater than 5 acres or is zoned commerical.  On property of 5 acres or less the size of the sign may  not exceed 16 square feet.  The height of freestanding signs is limited to 6 feet tall.
2.The sign shall be removed not later than two (2) days after the election.
3. No policial sign shall be placed on county property, state property or any portion of platted or dedicated streets or alleys, public utility poles, vegetateive material or traffic-control sign standards.
4. The section shall not be deemed to grant the right to install political signs where such signs are prohibited by subdivision restrictions or prohibitions imposed by deed, contract, or state statute.
5. Signs meeting the above criteria do not require permits from the Codes Department.
6. Signs may be placed durning the period beginning sixty (60) days before a general election until the day after the next subsequent general election.

Signs placed upon a vehicle are also allowed, provided that any vehicle with a sign face over two square feet is not conspicuously or continually parked in such a manner so as to constitute a sign.  The vehicle must be used for legitimate vehicular purposes.

Portable trailer signs are prohibited.

No signs shall be placed in the public right-of-way including street medians, street islands, between the sidewalk and the street on utility poles or trees. In additiona, signs should not encroach upon the clear sight triangle at street intersections.  Signs placed on buildings may not extend above the roofline.

Removal of Certain Signs 
The Codes Department may cause the removal of unauthorized advertising signs from the public right-of-way. Such signs may be impounded as evidence. A penalty fee of fifty dollars ($50) shall be charged for the signs to be returned to the owner.

Disposal of Signs
Any sign removed by the Codes Department pursuant with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinace shall become property of the County and may be disposed of in any manner deemed appropriate by the County.  Cost of removal of the sign by the County shall be considered a debt owed to the County by the owner of the sign and the owner of the property, and may be recovered in an appropriate court action by the County or by assessment against the property as hereafter provided.  The cost of abatement or removal shall include any and all incidental expenses incurred by the County in connection with the sign abatement or removal.

Any questions regarding sign can be directed to Joanne Criswell at

Open Storage

Open storage is defined as items such as household items, garbage, furniture, car parts, and various debris that are stored outside of an accessory structure and not contained within four walls and visible from the street or other properties.


Unlicensed or Inoperable Vehicles

Rutherford County Board of Commissioners Tall Weeds and Grass Ordinance dated 11/13/2008 section 1.4e states "It shall be unlawful to maintain more than one unlicensed or inoperable vehicle on any parcel of land or lot in a major subdivision as defined in the Rutherford County Subdivisions Regulations.".


Any land or structure used for the storage and/or sale of waste paper, rags, scrap metal, and discarded materials and the collection, dismantlement, storage, and/or salvage of four or more unlicensed, inoperative vehicles

Tall Weeds and Grass

Rutherford County Board of Commissioners Tall Weeds and Grass Ordinance dated 11/13/2008 section 1.4a-d and 1.4f states "a. For the purpose of this resolution weeds and other similar regulated vegetation shall be kept cut, clipped or controlled through chemical means as frequently as necessary to ensure that weeds, rank grass, and noxious growths do not exceed a height of fifteen (15) inches. Such vegetation shall be maintained on property as set forth below:

    1.The entire area of any lot, parcel, or tract containing two (2) acres or less.

    2.Within twenty-five (25) feet of any street right of way.

b. Nothing herein shall preclude the use of a parcel as a natural wooded area or the maintenance of natural screening provided that the public health, safety, and welfare not be impaired.

c. It shall be unlawful for any person to rake, cut or pile weeds, grass, brush, vegetation, dead or broken tree limbs, dead trees, or rubbish into any ditch or natural drain or at any place on the property that might obstruct the vision of the operators of vehicles or pedestrians of or obstruct the flow of water or drainage.

d. All enforcement actions with respect to Section 1 of this resolution shall commence upon confirmation of complaint.  All complaints should be appropriately documented and reflect the specific nature and location of the complaint.

f. These provisions do not apply to any lot which includes an owner-occupied residence, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotate 5-1-115 subsection." 


Unsafe Structure

The 2012 International Property Maintenance Code Section 108.1.1 says " An unsafe structure is one that 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."

Sub-Standard Housing

The 2012 International Property Maintenance Code Section 101 states "Establishing minimum maintenance standards for such elements as basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire safety."  


Rutherford County Zoning Ordinance Enforcement

Prohibited Sign Violations

Rutherford County Zoning Ordinance section 1204 states "The following signs shall be prohibited and may neither be erected nor maintained:

    Any sign for which a permit is required and has not been issues, excluding any existing legal nonconforming sign;

    Flashing or otherwise moving signs;

    Any sign that obstructs a clear view to and from traffic along any street right-of-way, entrance or exit;

    Signs or sign structures located in the right-of-way, except as required by appropriate federal, state, city, or county governmental authorities;

    Signs which make use of words such as "stop", "look", "danger" or any other words, phrases, symbols or character in such a manner as to resemble standard traffic control signs and interfere with, mislead or confuse drivers of vehicles traveling upon any highway, driveway or parking area;

    Portable signs;

    Sign display areas with varying light illumination and/or intensity, blinking, simulated movement or convey the illusion of movement

    Signs that are of such intensity or brilliance as to cause glare or impair the vision of any motorist, cyclist or pedestrian using or entering a public way;

    Any other sign which is not expressly allowed is prohibited;"


If you have a complaint that meets any of the above criteria and would like to submit a formal complaint you may do so here:

Sub Standard Housing Complaint Form

Zoning Appeals Application