Neighborhood Codes Enforcement

Plans Review and Inspections Director

Peter Ahrens
Email Us!
(865) 215-3669

400 Main St., Suite 475
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Scott Elder
Neighborhood Codes Enforcement Manager
Suite 475, City County Building
[email protected]

Neighborhood Codes Enforcement investigates codes violations regarding dilapidated buildings, dirty or overgrown lots, illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles. 

For more information on these areas and the services they provide, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below or choose from the links provided at the bottom of the page. If you have a request for one of the services that we provide, please contact 3-1-1.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Make a Complaint?
You can call 3-1-1 or 865-215-4311 or write or visit Neighborhood Codes Enforcement to register a complaint.

What Constitutes a "Dirty or Overgrown Lot?"
Trash and debris which have accumulated on a piece of property, overgrown vines, underbrush or grass over 12 inches high are all violations of city codes.

How Long Do I Have to Correct a Lot Problem? What If I Miss the Deadline?
The owner has 14 days from the date of the letter outlining the code violations to correct them. If violations are not corrected, a city crew will correct the violations by cleaning or mowing the lot and bill the owner. The owner can be cited to Municipal Court, where substantial fines and penalties can be imposed.

How Long Do I Have to Correct a Building Problem? What If I Miss the Deadline?
The owner has up to 120 days from the date of the letter outlining code violations to bring the structure up to code, depending on the seriousness of the violations. If the owner does not take care of the problem in that time, the case may go before the Public Officer Hearing or the Better Building Board, which could order demolition, acquisition or mandatory repair of the structure. Any costs incurred by the city in correcting these violations are charged to the property owner. If not paid, the costs become a lien against the property. Municipal Court fines and penalties are also possible for Housing and Building Code violations.

What Is the Public Officer Hearing?
A key part of the city's effort to achieve cleaner and safer neighborhoods is the Public Hearing Officer. This person starts action to force property owners to make repairs or to demolish unfit structures through the city's police powers over dangerous structures. A lien can be placed against the property to recover expenses incurred as a part of compelling the property owner to comply with city codes requirements. The Public Officer’s Hearing, is usually the last Friday of each month, at 9:30 a.m., in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building. The Public Officer's orders may be appealed to the Better Building Board, which meets the last Thursday of each month, at 3:30 p.m., usually in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building.

What Constitutes an "Abandoned Vehicle?"
• Illegally parked on public property for more than 48 hours
• Left unattended on public property for more than 30 days.
• On private property without consent of the owner for more than 48 hours.

What Constitutes an Inoperable Vehicle?
• Lacks major mechanical or body parts
• Is junked or partially disassembled
• Cannot be driven legally on public streets
• Cannot move under its own power

How Long Do I Have to Move an Inoperable Vehicle?
After an inspector has checked to see if the vehicle is inoperable and has placed a sticker on it, the owner has seven days to make it operable if it is on private property, or 48 hours, if it is on public property. If the vehicle is not made operable or towed away within the deadlines set on the sticker, the vehicle will be transported to an impoundment lot and the owner will be billed accordingly. Municipal Court fines and penalties may also be imposed. In a cooperative agreement with the National Kidney Foundation, the Neighborhood Codes Enforcement will assist any vehicle owner with a clear title in donating any unwanted vehicles to the foundation, allowing them to be towed off at no charge and providing a tax deduction to the owner.


Abandoned Vehicles 
Dilapidated Buildings
Dirty or Overgrown Lots
Illegal Dumping
Better Building Board/Public Officer Hearings