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Codes & Ordinances - Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to code enforcement. Should you have a question that is not answered by the FAQs, or wish to contact the Code Enforcement staff regarding a possible violation, please contact the Code Enforcement Division by telephone or e-mail.


Q: Is there an ordinance that regulates barking dogs?

A: Yes, the City of Cupertino has an ordinance that makes it unlawful and a nuisance to keep or maintain any animal, which by sound or cry, habitually disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood.

Q: Are there specific days and times that construction can occur?

A: Yes, construction generally can occur during the following days and times:
Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Weekends between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Holidays, prohibited unless conducted by the homeowner between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The exception to the above is as follows:
Demolition, grading, street construction, and underground utility work, may not be conducted during nighttime periods and on weekends and holidays within 750 ft. of a residential area.

Q: What are the times that the use of home maintenance equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, etc. can be used?

A: Weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Weekends and holidays between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

On Site Parking (Residential)

Q: Is it lawful to park a vehicle on the front lawn of a residence?

A: No, all vehicles parked within the front yard setback must be parked on an impervious surface consisting of concrete or other like materials.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of vehicles that can be parked on a residential parcel?

A: Yes, a maximum of four vehicles may be parked within the front yard setback. A greater number of vehicles may be permitted, if they are completely enclosed within a legal structure.

Q: Are inoperative vehicles allowed to be parked in the driveways or front yards of residences?

A: No, all vehicles that are parked within plain view of the public right-of-way must be in an operable condition and currently registered. Vehicles that do not meet these criteria may be abated as a public nuisance.

Q: Is there a regulation concerning parking recreational vehicles, such as motor homes, on a residential parcel?

A: Yes, all vehicles including motorhomes parked within the front yard setback, which are over 20 ft. in length, must be parked perpendicular to the street.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of days a guest can use a recreational vehicle (RV) for sleeping quarters, while the vehicle is parked on a residential parcel?

A: Yes, guests of the resident may use the RV for a period of 72 hours.

Q: Is there a maximum weight and/or length limit for vehicles parked on a residential parcel?

A: Yes, any commercial vehicle with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more, or a total length of 60 feet, is prohibited.

Off Site Parking (Public Right-of-Way)

Q: Is there a limit to how long a person may park a vehicle on the street without moving it?

A: Yes, vehicles may not be parked for longer than 72 consecutive hours without moving.

Q: Can a person use a vehicle for sleeping or living quarters, while it is parked on the street?

A: No, vehicles parked on a public street may not be used as sleeping or living quarters.

Q: Is there a maximum weight limit and/or length limit for vehicles parked on the street?

A: Yes, as with on-site parking, no commercial vehicle with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more, or a maximum length of 60 feet, may be parked on the street in a residential area.

Property Maintenance

Q: Is there a code that regulates the storage of old appliances and scrap debris that is stored in the front yard of a residence?

A: Yes, there is a property maintenance code that restricts the storage of appliances, scrap material, and junk in the front, side, or rear yards where the debris is visible from the street or sidewalk.

Q: Is there a weed abatement program in Cupertino?

A: Yes, the Santa Clara County Fire Department administers the weed abatement program within the City of Cupertino. If the weeds or dead vegetation are not declared a fire hazard by the fire department, the complaint may be forwarded to the Cupertino Code Enforcement Division, for further review and possible remedy under the property maintenance code. Contact them at 408.282.3145

Q: Who is responsible for cutting back shrubs and foliage that is obstructing the sidewalk?

A: Private property owners are required by the municipal code to prune all shrubs and foliage in such a manner that they do not encroach into the sidewalk and/or street. If the foliage is city owned/maintained (such as a street tree), the City Streets Division will prune back the foliage.

Q: Are there specific types of trees that are protected from removal?

A: Yes, there is a tree protection code that regulates the removal and pruning of various types of trees. Generally, these trees are considered heritage and/or specimen oak trees; however, there are other trees that are also protected. It is recommended that prior to removal or pruning, you contact the Planning Division at 408.777.3308, to inquire on the particular tree and circumstances concerning the removal or maintenance of the tree.

Q: Is it a code violation to have a home business?

A: No, in most cases home occupations are permitted. Home occupations are regulated by the municipal code and are subject to the securing of a business license. Generally, home occupations are permitted if they do not have an impact on the neighborhood by means of excessive noise, traffic, visual blight, etc.

Q: Who is responsible for the control and eradication of vermin (rodents)?

A: The Santa Clara County Health Department, Vector Control Division is the agency that is responsible for investigating situations involving rodents and other vermin within Cupertino. Contact them at 408.918.4770 or 800.675.1158.


Q: Is there a “leash law” in Cupertino?

A: Yes, all dog owners are required to keep their dogs restrained by a leash, while on public property, such as in parks and on sidewalks. On private property, dogs must also be restrained from leaving the property by a fence or other such method.

Q: Is there a maximum number of dogs and cats allowed on a premises?

A: Yes, no more than two dogs or three cats over four months of age, and no more than one unspayed dog or cat over four months of age is permitted.

Q: Is it a code violation to have a rooster as a pet in a residential area?

A: No, however the noise generated by the rooster is subject to the same code that regulates barking dogs.

Q: Are animal licenses required for household pets?

A: Animal licenses only pertain to dogs and cats over four months of age. San Jose Animal Care and Control is responsible for administering the animal-licensing program in Cupertino.


Q: Do door-to-door solicitors need a permit from the City?

A: There are two general types of door-to-door solicitors, for-profit solicitors and non-profit solicitors. For-profit solicitors are required to obtain a Cupertino solicitor’s permit, prior to conducting door-to-door solicitation. For-profit solicitors are restricted to soliciting between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Non-profit solicitors are exempt from the solicitors code and are not required to obtain a permit; however, we do request they obtain a tax-exempt business license, prior to conducting door-to-door solicitation.

Q: Is a permit necessary to distribute advertising flyers?

A: Yes, a handbill permit is necessary for all for-profit groups, prior to distributing advertising handbills or flyers.

Q: Who regulates massage establishments in Cupertino?

A: The Code Enforcement Division issues massage establishment and massage therapist permits and assists the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department in regulating the establishments.


Q: Is it lawful to post garage sale or other temporary type signs on utility poles and street signposts?

A: No. Temporary signs, such as garage sale or lost pet signs, are not permitted to be posted on utility poles or traffic signal/sign posts.

Q: Are real estate open house signs permitted in Cupertino?

A: Yes, however the sign code regulates the number of signs and the placement of signs. A maximum of six off-site real estate signs and one on-site sign is allowed. All open house signs must be located entirely on private property with the property owner’s permission, and the signs must be removed each day by sunset. Off-site real estate signs may also be placed in the landscape strip, which is usually located between the street and sidewalk in residential and institutional zones only.

Q: Are businesses required to obtain a sign permit to display banners and other temporary signs?

A: Yes, a temporary sign permit must be secured, prior to installing a temporary banner sign or “A-frame” sign. Temporary sign permits may be obtained by contacting the Planning Division at 408.777.3308. 


Q: Who is responsible for graffiti removal on private property?

A: The municipal code requires private property owners to remove graffiti from their property within 10 days.

Q: Who is responsible for removing graffiti from public property?

A: The City of Cupertino Public Works Division will remove graffiti from all City property such as street signs, light poles, and park facilities. Graffiti on other public property or quasi-public property, such as bus benches and shelters, railroad property, freeway overpasses/sound walls and water district property, must be reported directly to the appropriate agency. Contact Street Division at 408.777.3275.

Who to contact for violations of the above city ordinances:

Any incident that is believed to be a code violation and is in progress needing an immediate officer response, should be phoned in to the Sheriffs’ Dispatch Center. Conversely, any violation that is not changing, such as a neighbor with a blighted property, should be phoned in to the Code Enforcement business office and they will schedule the property to be inspected.

The Sheriffs’ Dispatch Center: 408.299.2311

Cupertino Code Enforcement Division: 408.777.3182

Cupertino Code Enforcement Division e-mail:

A complete list of all Cupertino City Codes/Ordinances can be viewed by visiting Cupertino Municipal Code.

Last updated: 2/9/2016 11:05:12 AM