General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

Building Services

Code Enforcement - Q & A

The purpose of Code Enforcement is to protect the health and safety of El Dorado County residents by enforcing minimum standards for property maintenance as well as procedures for abatement of public nuisances.

Administrative enforcement of the provisions of the El Dorado County Code and other applicable laws shall be limited to cases where:

  1. Specific bona fide citizen complaints have been received, or
  2. Where the violation occurs within the context of the county's oversight and approval of a project, or
  3. Where the enforcement action is a part of a plan for the uniform enforcement of a provision of the El Dorado County Code or other applicable laws within the county.

No order to correct shall be issued pursuant to a citizen complaint until the Enforcement Authority has conducted an independent investigation and determined that there is good cause to believe that a violation has occurred.

Permit Exemptions

Q: Is there a County Ordinance that regulates construction start times?
A: There is no County wide Ordinance regarding construction start times, though the Sheriff's Office can respond to a construction noise complaint just as they would for a barking dog or loud stereo.

Q: Can I camp out on my own private property?
A: County Zoning Ordinances prohibit camping outside of a registered campground. These ordinances are not enforceable inside the National Forest boundaries.

Q: Can I run a commercial auto repair business or cabinet shop in my garage?
A: Generally no. Most zoning allows for a business office to be run from a home, but does not allow anything that will "change the residential nature of the neighborhood."

Q: Can my neighbors stay in a travel trailer?
A: Only with a permit. Planning Services can provide information regarding temporary permits that are available for uses such as construction, hardship and a caretaker.

Q: Can my neighbor store junk vehicles or abandoned appliances on his property?
A: County Ordinance states if your neighbor's collection meets the definition of visual blight or a public nuisance, your neighbor must remove it or store it inside a building.

Q: Can I use my garage for a bedroom, family room, or office?
A: County Ordinance states a structure can not be used "in a manner other than that for which it was originally approved". The CA Building Codes require a building permit for the change of use even if no construction is done.

Q: Do I need a building permit for a shed that is “portable” or “temporary”?
A: The CA Building Code requires a building permit for any structure greater than 120 square feet in floor area. Zoning setbacks are still required for all structures, even if no building permit is required.

Q: What if the building was built a long time ago?
A: El Dorado County created it's Building Services Department in 1959. If a structure predates that time and was built to the code at that time, has been "maintained in good repair" and is not hazardous, no retroactive permit will be required.

Q: What if the previous owner built the structure without a required permit?
A: As the current owner you are responsible. As part of the permit process, a California licensed architect or engineer will be required to evaluate the structure and submit a stamped and "wet" signed report that compares construction requirements at the approximate time the structure was originally built with current requirements.

Q: Do I need a building permit if I am just replacing my deck the same way it was built?
A: Yes. Only limited maintenance replacement of non-structural and non-safety components are allowed without a permit.

Q: What type of construction requires a building permit?
A: The CA Building Code requires a permit any time a structure is “erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished”. There are a few exceptions such as small sheds, small retaining walls, and fencing 6 feet high or less.

Contact Building Services staff to see if your project requires a permit before you begin. It could save you time, money, and stress.

*El Dorado County Code Enforcement responds to citizen's complaints to protect the health and safety of residents. Though much of the information regarding a complaint is public information, the Complainant's information is kept confidential from the public. Anonymous complaints are not investigated.  

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For more information contact:

El Dorado County Development Services Department
 Code Enforcement Unit 
     2850 Fairlane Court
     Placerville, CA 95667

     Phone:     (530) 621-5999
     Fax:         (530) 622-2921

Resources for specific complaints:

Solid waste / garbage:
    El Dorado County Environmental Health Department
    Phone:     (530) 621-5300

Inoperative vehicles:
    El Dorado County Sheriff's Vehicle Abatement
    Phone:     (530) 621-6573

Tenant / Landlord Rights:
    CA Department of Consumer Affairs
    400 R Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814 

    Phone:     1-800-952 -5210
    email address:

Mobile Home Parks:
    CA Dept of Housing & Community Development
    Mobile home Ombudsman

    P.0. Box 31
    Sacramento, CA 95813-0031
    Phone:     1-800-952-5275

Legal Aid:
    Legal Aid for Low Income Tenants
    Legal Services of Northern California
    Mother Lode Regional Office
    190 Reamer Street,
    Auburn, CA 95603-4721

    Phone:         (530) 823-7560
    Toll Free:     1-800-660-6107

Legal Services for the Elderly:
    El Dorado County Department of Human Services
    937 Spring St.
    Placerville, CA 95667

    Phone:         (530) 621-6150 top of page