The City of Iowa City encourages you to be a good neighbor when managing your property. Select one of the topics below to learn about your responsibilities as a property owner in Iowa City. Renters are reminded to check their leases carefully as some of these responsibilities may have been transferred to them. 


The snow ordinance in Iowa City states that the entire width of a public sidewalk must be cleared of a 1 inch or greater snowfall within 24-hours after the snow has stopped. The Department of Neighborhood and Development Services receives complaints and investigates to verify that the snow and/or ice has not been removed.

If the inspector finds that the public walk has not been cleared, the property is posted and a letter of violation is sent by regular mail to the property owner. An inspector will return to the property approximately 24-hours later, and if the property has still not been cleared, the City hires an outside contractor to clear the snow and the property owner is charged that amount plus a $100 administrative fee. If there is a second violation confirmed during that same season, the City can immediately clear the sidewalk without notification to the property owner.

Residents can report a property three ways:   

Complaints must be specific and must include an actual address in order for City staff to respond.

Snow Removal reminder flyer

Tall Grass/Weeds

The enforcement period of the Iowa City weed ordinance is year round.

If the Department of Neighborhood and Development Services receives a complaint during that period:

  •  An inspector is sent out to verify if the grass and/or weeds are 10 inches or taller
    • Note: the property owner is also responsible for mowing the City right of way adjacent to their property
    • Any plant material is not allowed to obstruct a public way or sidewalk no matter the height
  • If the inspector confirms the complaint, the property is posted and a letter of violation is sent to the property owner stating that they have seven days to mow
  • Following the seventh day, the inspector goes back to the property to see if it has been mowed, and if it hasn't the City will hire an outside contractor to mow the property and charge that amount to the property owner plus a $100 administrative fee
    • If there is a second violation confirmed during the same season, the property owner is given three days to mow the property; if not mowed in that time frame, the City will hire a contractor to mow

Inoperable/Obsolete Vehicles

The storage, parking and/or leaving of an inoperable/obsolete vehicle upon private property in Iowa City in excess of 48-hours is prohibited. An inoperable/obsolete vehicle is defined as any vehicle which may be transported or drawn upon a public street which exhibits any one of the following characteristics:

  • Broken windshield or any other broken glass
  • Broken door, fender, bumper, steering wheel, hood, trunk top or tail pipe
  • Lacks an engine or one or more wheels or any other part which renders the vehicle inoperable
  • Habitat for rats, mice, snakes or any other vermin or insects
  • Not capable of moving in both forward and reverse

If the Department of Neighborhood and Development Services receives a complaint about an inoperable/obsolete vehicle, an inspector is sent out to verify the complaint. The inspector will post the vehicle and the property which gives the property owner 48-hours to move the vehicle, if the vehicle is still there after 48-hours it is then posted with a "Notice to Abate," which informs the property owner that they have 10-days to move the vehicle or the City will tow it off of the property at the owner's expense.

Parking Requirements

All vehicles not parked on streets must park on approved, hard surfaced spaces only. Parking on grass is not permitted, and may result in a $250 citation. Parking on gravel areas is approved only if that area has been continuously maintained as gravel parking. Do not assume that your gravel parking is existing non-conforming. Check with us to be sure, 319-356-5120 or 319-356-5130. The creation of gravel parking is not permitted.

Police will ticket and may tow vehicles that are parked across public sidewalks and driveway approaches.

Trash and Garbage Complaints

The solid waste ordinance states what kind of containers can be used, where they can be stored, and when they can be placed and removed from the curb.

If waste is not stored properly at the curb, it will not be picked up. If that waste remains at the curb for longer than a day, the Solid Waste Division may remove the waste and bill the property owner.

For trash and litter in yards, the Neighborhood and Development Services Department will attempt to investigate the complaint within 24-hours. If a violation is found, the inspector will notify the property owner by phone or written notice to remove the trash. If the violation remains for more than 48-hours after notification, a citation of $250 may be issued.