OCCUPANCY ORDINANCE (U+2)
The “U plus 2” law or occupancy ordinance states:
“Occupancy in a residential dwelling unit (single-family, duplex, and multifamily) is restricted to:
one family* and not more than one additional person;
one adult and their dependents (if any), a second adult and their dependents (if any), and not more than one additional person.”
*Family shall mean any number of persons who are all related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or other duly authorized custodial relationship, and who live together as a single housekeeping unit and share common living, sleeping, cooking, and eating facilities.
Under this ordinance the following scenarios are allowed:
- a family (of any size and configuration)
- a family (of any size and configuration) and their nanny
- a family (of any size and configuration) and an exchange student
- two single parents, their kids, and a friend
- two siblings and one friend
- two married couples as long as a familial relationship exists linking the two couples
These are not allowed:
- two couples, married or not, with no familial relationship linking couple A to couple B
- two siblings and their two or more friends
- a family (of any size), a caretaker, and an exchange student
For the majority of rentals within the city limits of Fort Collins, it is illegal to have more than 3 unrelated people living together in one dwelling. This law is taken very seriously in Fort Collins. If you are found in violation of this law you will be given at most 20 days to correct the situation. If the situation is not corrected within that time frame the resulting fine can be up to $1,000 per person per day that you’re in violation.
There are some exceptions to this law such as certain apartments with four or five bedrooms. You can find these apartments on the Apartment Complex List. There are also a limited number of houses that have been zones to rent to more than three unrelated people. If you are looking to rent with a landlord who claims their property has special permission for over-occupancy, you can check this approved over-occupancy list or you can contact our office at 970-491-2248 or firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm. In the case of multi-unit buildings such as duplexes or town homes you can have up to three unrelated people living in each unit.
Read here to learn more about this ordinance, it’s exemptions, the enforcement process, and FAQs.
UNREASONABLE NOISE ORDINANCE
The Unreasonable Noise Ordinance is in effect 24 hours a day, and is concerned with what level of noise is reasonable for that time day, that day of week, the type of noise, etc. It is officer discretion to determine if the level of noise is violating the Noise Ordinance. A violation of this ordinance is misdemeanor criminal offense and carries a fines of $1,000+, which can be issued to each resident.
What happens if my neighbor thinks I’m being too loud and calls the police?
Firstly, take the time to build a relationship with your neighbors so they are more likely to contact you directly if there is an issue. If your neighbor calls the police, here is the standard process:
- A resident calls the non-emergency police number (970-221-6540) to complain about noise.
- A city police officer is dispatched to the neighborhood.
- The police officer has the discretion to determine if noise from the property is unreasonable. The noise ordinance is in effect 24 hours a day.
- Tickets issued by police officers can be given to one or all residents/roommates, with a fine of $1,000+ per person.
- If you receive a ticket, you will be given a date and time to appear for an arraignment date. On that day, you will be given a written advisement form, and one option listed on that form will be to meet with a prosecuter from the City Attorney’s office to discuss possible plea dispositions. Note that officers will take note of your cooperation, which will help you when meeting with the prosecutor.
How can I help myself avoid a noise citation?
There are several steps you can take to avoid a noise citation, including building a positive relationship with your neighbors, and you can register your party.
How might the initial response be different for a registered party?
- If a noise complaint is received by Police Dispatch and the party is registered, the party host could receive a call informing them about the complaint.
- If the host does not answer the call, the police officer will leave a message and call the second number.
- If the second number is not answered, they will leave another message.
- From the time of the first phone call, the party host will have 20 minutes to break up their party. If no more noise complaints about the party, the police are not dispatched out to the residence.
- If a second noise complaint is received after the 20-minute grace period, dispatch will send an officer to the residence to deal with the noise.
- If there are any other problems, besides noise violations, then the 20-minute warning does not apply.
The Party Registration program is a great way to avoid getting a potential $1,000+ noise citation.
NUISANCE GATHERING ORDINANCE
A gathering can be defined as a nuisance for several reasons including, but not limited to, behaviors such as public urination or vomiting, fighting, vehicular or pedestrian traffic, and beer bottles/cups littering the neighborhood. The Nuisance Gathering citation is a misdemeanor criminal offense and carries a $1,000+ fine with a possibility of jail time or community services hours, which can be issued to each resident. In addition, you might be responsible for paying the costs of police and fire personnel overtime, cost of repairs to city streets, and the cost of clean-up and or repairing any damage to neighboring property.
Riots are taken very seriously here in Fort Collins! You might be surprised to learn that in Fort Collins a riot is defined as “a public disturbance involving three or more people whose conduct creates a danger of damage or injury to people or property or substantially disrupts the performance of any government function.” In other words a riot can take place with as few as three people participating.
If you are involved in a riot, the punishment includes a $1,000+ fine and/or 12 months in jail as well as mandatory suspension from any public institution of higher education in Colorado for at least a year.
You should be aware that if you are caught watching a riot you can still be considered to be involved and face similar punishments. The best option if you see a riot is to walk away.
Read here to learn more about this ordinance and other common party violations.
Abandoned Vehicles: You can not park your car in any public location for more than 48 hours at a time. Any vehicle left unattended at one location in the public right-of-way for 48 hours or longer is considered abandoned and will be subject to tow and storage at the owner’s expense.
Inoperable Vehicles: Any inoperable vehicle (including those with expired license plate tags) can not be parked in public view.
Designated Parking: All cars must be parked in a designated parking area which means you are not allowed to park your vehicle on your lawn or sidewalk.
Stop Signs & Intersections: You are not allowed to park within 20 feet of a stop sign or 30 feet of an intersection.
Curbs: All vehicles parked along the street must be parked within 12 inches of the curb.
Trailers & Mobile Homes: Trailers and mobile homes can not be parked on the street.
Read here to learn more about parking regulations.
Wanting to park in a neighborhood near campus? Read about the Residential Parking Permit Program (RP3) here.
Fort Collins residents are required to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalk adjacent to their property within 24 hours of accumulation. This means that once the snow stops falling, you have 24 hours to clear the sidewalks around your property. This includes the sidewalk across the driveway. Code Compliance Inspectors enforce the sidewalk snow removal ordinance. If your sidewalks are not cleared after 24 hours, the city will hire snow removal contractors to correct sidewalk hazards at the property owner’s cost.
Traveling over a school break? Know that this ordinance is enforced regardless if you are home or not. Help your neighbor with their sidewalk while you’re in town for classes and ask them to help you with your sidewalk if you’re out of town.
Be sure to check out the City of Fort Collins’s Code Compliance website for more information about other importance codes such as grass/weed height, rubbish, outdoor storage, screen trash cans, outdoor fire pits, etc.