Codes and Ordinances

City of Asheville’s Unified Development Ordinances (UDO)

The Asheville Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) outlines requirements for development in Asheville in Chapter 7 – Development.

 

 

City of Asheville’s Standard Specifications and Details Manual

The City of Asheville’s Standard Specifications and Details Manual establishes development requirements that protect the public health, safety, and welfare through the provision and maintenance of public or private infrastructure improvements related to developing, redeveloping, and subdividing land, as well as providing necessary rights-of-way, transportation and utility services.

City Council adopted an updated edition of the Standard Specifications and Details Manual on May 13, 2014. The second revision of this edition was approved by City Council on June 14, 2016.

Please note: this Manual does not contain a water distribution section. Contact the Water Resources Department for the latest version of the Water Design and Construction Manual.

 

City of Asheville’s Minimum Housing Code

The City of Asheville’s Minimum Housing Code intends to remedy and prevent the decay and deterioration of places of human habitation by providing minimum requirements for the protection of life, health, welfare, safety, and property. All dwellings in the city must be maintained to the minimum standards set forth in the code.

The text of the Code can be found here:

https://library.municode.com/nc/asheville/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH4BUBURE_ARTVIIHOCO

 

Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities

Section 4-214 of the Code identifies owners as being responsible for complying with the provisions of the Code. However, some obligations are placed on the tenant. For example, maintaining cleanliness of the unit and reporting problems to the landlord. While it is not a requirement, the City recommends that tenants notify the landlord in writing regarding any problems that exist. This is often a more effective way of getting an appropriate response than phone calls or text messages. The landlord should be given a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs.

 

Filing a Complaint

A Housing Complaint is typically a physical problem that needs to be repaired. It can be on the inside or outside of the building. Tenants are encouraged to notify the landlord (preferably in writing) and give the landlord reasonable time to make the repair prior to filing a complaint with the Housing Office.

However, if the complaint is regarding something that is dangerous in nature or is an imminent health or safety hazard and the property is located with city limits, the City of Asheville’s Housing Office should be notified immediately. Complaints can be made by any of the following methods:

  1. By Phone: Call the Development Services Department Housing Line (828-259-5764) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will be asked to provide as much information about the dwelling as possible. Critical information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Address (and unit number) of the dwelling
  • Name of the owner
  • Nature of the complaint
  • How long the condition has existed
  • Has the landlord/owner been notified? If so, when? In writing?
  • Has there been any action taken to correct the problem(s)?
  1. In Writing: Mail complaint information to the City of Asheville Development Services Department, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802. Address it to the attention of the Housing Code Coordinator.
  1. In Person: Visit the Development Services Department at 161 S. Charlotte Street between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Buncombe County residents outside Asheville city limits should call the Buncombe County Fire Marshal at (828) 250-6620.

 

Can I remain anonymous?

Complaints filed by phone can be left anonymously. However, the complainant should be aware that remaining anonymous can often limit the extent to which the Housing Code Coordinator can conduct and follow through with an effective investigation. As a tenant, you have the right to live in a rental unit that is safe, clean, and habitable. State law protects you from being evicted for filing a complaint. Your landlord cannot retaliate against you by threatening eviction for filing a complaint.

 

What to Expect

When you file a complaint, the Housing Code Coordinator will ask a series of questions to get as much information as possible about the nature of the problems. He/she will then schedule a time to meet at the property to conduct the inspection. Depending on the nature and extent of the problems, the inspection could take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. The inspector will likely start by looking for problems on the outside of the building. He/she will then proceed to do the internal inspection, methodically going from room to room, checking plumbing fixtures, looking for damage to the building, making sure ventilation is appropriate, etc. When the inspector is finished he/she will give you a brief overview of his/her findings.

If Minimum Housing Code violations are found, the inspector will make a report of the findings and issue a Notice of Violation to the property owner. The owner will be given a designated amount of time to resolve the problems (typically 30 days, but this may vary depending on the nature of the problems).

 

Mold

Many tenants call the Housing Line to complain about mold in their rental dwellings. If you are concerned about mold, it is important to understand that there are no federal standards for mold growth. Therefore, mold is not regulated by the Minimum Housing Code. However, while we can’t inspect for mold, per se, we can inspect for sources of moisture that might lead to excessive mold growth. So if you believe you have a leaking roof, water damaged walls, or some other source of excess moisture, then it might be appropriate to request a Minimum Housing Code inspection.

For more information on mold and indoor air quality, try looking at these sources:

 

North Carolina Building Code

2018 Code Update

Residential plans submitted after January 1, 2019 shall comply with the 2018 North Carolina Residential Building Code unless specifically identified on the plans.

Commercial plans submitted on or after January 1, 2019 must comply with the North Carolina Building Code.

Access Building Code text here: 2018 North Carolina State Building Codes

 

Code Clarifications & Changes

The City of Asheville Building Safety division has identified areas of the North Carolina Building Codes that may require additional details. The following examples are offered to assist you with compliance:

Awning

Before installing your sign or awning on your business please check the requirements — it could save you valuable time and money. Not all signs require Plan Review — if the sign is smaller than those listed on the checklist a Code Enforcement Officer can assist you in the field. Most sign installation requires a permit, please contact the Development Services Center at (828) 259-5846 before installation.

 

Deck Construction

What you need to know before building an attached or free-standing deck to your home.

 

Dryer Duct Detail of Fire Resistance Rated Assembly

North Carolina Building Codes and North Carolina Mechanical Codes permit a metal dryer duct to penetrate a rated floor ceiling assembly. In an effort to clarify an often considered “gray area” in the code, a descriptive detail has been prepared. The common confusion comes from the fact that both the Mechanical Code and the Building Code require compliance. The wording, which allows this installation, is not found in any single location of either code.

Along with this detail, additional methods of dryer venting may be used, including providing a soffit below the rated assembly and running the dryer duct within the soffit, or providing a rated shaft within the floor system for the duct to be installed. For more information please contact Development Services at (828) 259-5846.

 

Residential Handrails

The North Carolina 2006 State Building Code lists particular requirements for handrails, specifically for the graspability. To assist with questions, the City offers a visual interpretation for your convenience.

 

Unvented Gas Heaters

Housing Code Section 4-210(g)1(a) – Mechanical/Heat – allows the use of unvented natural gas heaters having oxygen depletion sensors listed for residential use by UL, ETL, or other North Carolina recognized testing laboratory and installed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions as the primary source of heat.

The State Building Code (2006 N.C. Fuel Gas Code, Section 621.2) will no longer allow unvented natural gas heaters to be installed as the primary source of heat in a dwelling unit. New installations of unvented room heaters must comply with current code and all replacement installations must meet code requirements under which they are installed.

The use of unvented fuel-burning heaters is prohibited in any bedroom.

 

Education & Informational Materials

Steep Slopes

The City of Asheville has special requirements for vegetation removal within areas designated as steep slope areas. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions regarding regulations found in Section 7-12-4 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

 

Solar PV

Click here for forms and requirements for submitting solar system plans and work.