Austin code department logo on the left with the website written on the right
Ver este Informe Anual en Español.
Austin downtown city buildings during a sunset in the late afternoon. there is a graphic banner in the front saying "2020 annual report, year in review"

Your City At Work 

We are pleased to share Austin Code Department's annual report for the Fiscal Year 2020. Despite the challenges brought by a global pandemic, we achieved extraordinary results. By working with community and City partners, we were able to identify ways to better serve the public. We provided continued education and apply enforcement strategies when needed. Additionally, we continued our path to align with the City of Austin’s Strategic Plan 2023 to make significant progress in making our city stronger, safer, and more equitable for all. We are here to work for you. We look forward to working with our communities to make Austin a livable city for all.


To build a safer and greater Austin together through code education, collaboration, and enforcement.

Our Goals

  • Strengthen community relations by raising awareness and understanding of local code requirements
  • Ensure a safe environment by enforcing the legal use of Austin lands and properties
  • Provide a fair and just administration by delivering fair, equitable, and transparent enforcement of City codes.

About Austin Code 

We work to protect the safe, healthy, and legal use of lands and homes. We maintain a balance between code compliance and code enforcement. We do this by identifying dangerous and substandard conditions and implementing programs to ensure a minimum standard is met. Our response times vary but are set based on considerations such as time-sensitivity and the risks to life safety.
Timeline displaying how Austin Code Department's scope of work has changed from 2002 to 2020

COVID-19 Response

"The global Coronavirus pandemic affected our families, our communities, and our way of life."
over 7000 responses for COVID 19 related service requests, this thumbnail features an animated graphic of a beating heart to convey life

Serving Our Community

With the onset of COVID-19, our field staff notably served as essential workers. Code inspectors educated the community and enforced the Emergency Orders enacted to help control the spread of the virus. Throughout the crisis, our support staff adapted to rapid change. We managed competing priorities. We collaborated to solve problems, and we adjusted our course as situations and assignments evolved. Visit the COVID-19 dashboard to learn more.

PACE Response Team

The words “essential employee” took a different meaning for Austin Code. The lives of code inspectors were at stake and became front and center to the COVID-19 response. Typically, ACD deploys a team known as PACE (Public Assembly Code Enforcement). The team consists of several city entities that address code enforcement concerns during large events. During their deployment this year, the PACE team were the first to respond to COVID-19 related complaints.
A white, red, and blue pickup truck is in the foreground with the words "code compliance" visible along the side of the truck. In the background a trailer shows the word "PACE" and the logos of the City of Austin's fire, police, and code departments
A code inspector with a dark skin complexion wearing a navy blue Austin Code polo and baseball hat reviews a paper checklist while another man looks on. Both are wearing face masks and plastic gloves.
A man with a dark skin complexion and a shaved head in an Austin code inspector polo uniform faces the camera with smiling eyes and a face mask
A female with a light skin complexion and blond hair wearing a navy blue Austin code inspector polo faces the camera wearing a face mask showing a Texas flag decoration
2 brass keys slightly swinging from an exterior door lock of a wooden front door
Educating on Eviction Protection
The City of Austin issued protection for residential tenants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This order prohibits the issuance of Notices to Vacate and the removal of property of a tenant by a property owner. The Austin Code Department focused on educating the community on these orders to maintain compliance. Visit the COVID-19 Dashboard to learn more.
a male code inspector with a light skin complexion wearing a headset while sitting in his parked Austin Code truck and typing on his laptop about an Austin Code case
Uninterrupted Services
Beginning March 17, 2020,  many employees were able to transition to work remotely by transitioning to a virtual work setting using Microsoft TEAMS. Code inspectors were encouraged to continue their fieldwork as part of the PACE safety team. Since then, approximately 83% of support and administrative code staff were able to successfully work remotely. Currently, about 93% of Code Inspectors continue to work out in the field, working to keep our community safe and livable for all. 


When we educate our communities, we learn how to keep each other and our city safe.

Proactive Prevention

The first step to prevent code violations is to know about them. Our educational priority is to help the community learn about city codes and regulations. We do this through a series of educational programs and community involvement. Want to test your knowledge of local codes and ordinances? Take our Code Education Survey!
text that says 72 community and neighborhood meetings over a background of a Austin Code employee standing and speaking in front of a medium sized focus group of people from the local community

Outreach & Awareness

This fiscal year, we attended 72 community events and neighborhood meetings. During the events we share information on how to keep our homes and surroundings safe. We also listened to interest groups, community members, and  attended neighborhood meetings. After the pandemic began, many outreach initiatives shifted to a virtual setting. Request a Code Speaker today!
425 calls per month. the background shows a woman with a red pony tail sitting at her desk in front of her computer and reaching for her office phone

Dedicated Phone Line

Our dedicated phone line, Code Connect, provides direct access to bilingual code inspectors. The inspectors can answer general questions about codes. They also provide resource guidance and give updates on their existing cases. In fiscal year 2020, the program averaged 21 calls per day, 425 calls per month, which equaled to a total of 6,239 calls. Give Code Connect a call at (512) 974-CODE (2633).

New Video and Podcast Series

To illustrate the work that our code inspectors do, we developed the “My Story as a Code Inspector” video and podcast series. This is an innovative way to connect with Austin residents and shed light on the value of the work done by code inspectors within the community. Each episode contains a personal interview with a code inspector about a code case that had a profound impact on their life. This series is shared throughout multiple online platforms to provide knowledge that engages with multiple residents and keeps the department's educational efforts at the forefront. Visit the Austin Code Department's YouTube channel to view our videos!
code inspector with a light skin complexion sitting in his parked code vehicle pointing at the right earlobe of the headset that he is wearing

Language Access 

Connecting with the public in their preferred language is important to us. This year, we budgeted $45,000 for language access services. This means that staff members have the ability to communicate with the public. We now support dozens of languages. Our staff uses over-the-phone interpretation services and remote video interpretation services. Our teams are also staffed with at least one Spanish-speaking staff per team. 
code inspector standing in front of a classroom of elementary students. the inspector is leaning forward to answer the question from a young male student

Educating The Community

We introduced quarterly campaigns with an educational component designed to raise awareness about common code violations. Some of these topics are tall grass and weeds, illegal dumping, dangerous structures, and more.
group photo of 5 code employees with the employee in the middle holding a transparent award


The department received the 2019 American Association of Code Enforcement (AACE) Creative Marketing Award for Austin Code's virtual reality tool. This helps residents see through the eyes of a code inspector working to identify common code violations. Also, the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) Award of Excellence for Best Recurring Community Event for the Spooktacular Bash.


Together, we ensure the safe, healthy, and legal uses of Austin lands and properties
Stakeholder Engagement
Austin Code collaborates with City representatives and community members. Our goal is to increase awareness of local codes and ordinances. When we work together as a community, we help to ensure Austin is safe and livable. Want to help us develop content that better serves our residents? Get in touch!
8 code employees in business casual attire standing in front of a large crowd of people for a presentation
two code employees in their navy blue uniform jackets speaking to 2 residents of Austin community during a community meeting
10 Austin code inspectors standing in front of a PACE trailer vehicle for a photo opportunity
the back of a male Austin code inspector driving an Austin Code ATV to observe a possible code violation outdoors involving a broken tree branch
a code supervisor with a dark skin complexion wearing a navy blue code polo shirt sitting at a desk in an office, conducting a virtual inspection while holding a smart phone in front of him with two hands. To his left is a screen of a resident whom he is talking to. The resident is a woman with a light skin complexion, wearing glasses and a white sweater.
Collaborative Service Design
Austin Code works with the community to design materials that meet residents' needs. In FY20, we collaborated on the:
  • Improved Repeat Offender Program webpage 
  • New! Code inspection guide 
  • New! HVAC procedures 
  • New! Virtual code inspection pilot 
Property Representatives
Code inspectors collaborate with property owners to bring their properties into compliance. Inspectors send a Notice of Violation outlining what needs to be fixed. They work with property representatives to address the issue and bring their properties into compliance.
Code Violation
outdoor code violation consisting of trash and boxes scattered everywhere near a few trees
Compliance Achieved
a code truck is parked in front of an outdoor location where a code violation was cleaned up
close up image of a woman with a dark skin complexion wearing a light blue shirt and using a mobile tablet device

Customer Survey

We extend our sincere thanks to those who invested their time to complete the survey. The purpose of the survey is to identify areas where we are currently succeeding. The survey also serves as a guide to highlight areas where our department could improve. Austin Code selected ETC Institute as our independent partner for administering this survey and they have presented their results to us which we, in turn, make available for your review.

Staying Connected

More of our community engagement shifted to virtual settings on FY2020. We coordinated more online meetings, virtual code training, and video user feedback sessions. This allowed us to stay connected to the stakeholders and the communities we serve.
wide aerial image of the river and downtown Austin


Delivering fair, equitable and transparent enforcement of city codes.

Code By The Numbers

Total number of code cases investigated: 38,180
Total number of confirmed code violations: 14,282
Number of confirmed violation cases escalated to Building Standards Commission: 90
Average Numbers of Days Until First Response: 2.07
text that says 75402 total inspections over a background of a elderly male code inspector in uniform taking a photo of a possible code violation outdoors near a wired fence
text that says 77 percent confirmed violation cases that met compliance over a background of a young happy black family consisting of a husband, wife, a daughter and son. the family is standing in front of a nice residential home
text that says 556 cases escalated to quasi judicial proceedings over a background that shows a female code inspector standing and giving a presentation among a group of people at a judicial meeting


The department conducted 75,403 inspections during FY20. When a violation is confirmed, the code inspector works with the responsible parties to educate and guide the property owner to achieve compliance.


The goal with any code case is to achieve voluntary compliance to ensure public safety. During FY20, three in every four properties achieved voluntary compliance without the need for further escalation.

Legal Escalation

If a code violation does not get resolved then the final step taken is enforcement. Quasi-judicial proceedings include the Building and Standards Commission, Administrative Hearings, Municipal Court, and District Court.
text that says 19 repeat offender program properties over a background of a female code inspector wearing a navy blue polo uniform shirt while taking a photo of a possible code violation outdoors
text that says 5086 total licenses issued over a background image of a code inspector holding a clipboard with paper
2615 short term rental licenses issued. the background shows a close up of a person's hand holding a pen and writing information on a piece of paper labeled license

R.O.P. Properties

During FY20, the department added 19 properties to the Repeat Offender Program (ROP). This rental registration program monitors properties with repeat code violations.


We issue many types of licenses that are not just STR licenses. Owners of Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are required to obtain an operating license annually. This law applies to all properties (including rooms and guest houses) rented for less than 30 consecutive days.

S.T.R. Licenses

The Austin Code Licensing team issued a total of 2,615 STR licenses. The team made important process improvements, including going entirely paperless and creating a new process for license denials.

Remote Administrative Hearing

Our Administrative Hearing program underwent a significant transformation in 2020 to improve its internal and external processes. New Standard Operating Procedures are in place for an improved streamlined process. Educational tools like a training manual, a citation tutorial, flyers, and an improved website are now available to the public. 
Due to COVID-19, Administrative Hearings paused on March 13, 2020, and resumed July 14, 2020. Currently, Hearing Officers, code inspectors, and cited property owners have the opportunity to appear virtually or in person. Those not able to hold virtual hearings have the opportunity to appear in person. To ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations, we practice social distancing, disinfecting, and mask-wearing as we continue to provide uninterrupted services.

B.S.C. Online 

The Building and Standards Commission (BSC) was established to hear cases concerning alleged violations of the City's housing and dangerous building regulations.  The Commission members meet to hear cases involving appeals and substandard or dangerous properties. The Commission complies with its mission to hear and act on cases that result in eliminating dangerous conditions at properties throughout the city. 
khaki line

Suspension and Revocation Process

The department implemented the Suspension & Revocation process for Repeat Offender Program. Suspension is an enforcement tool provided under Austin City Code § 4-14-50(A). This results in the loss of ability to lease vacant units until issues are corrected. Current tenants are not affected. 
a female code inspector with grey hair and a khaki code uniform inspecting a electrical box outside of a residential dwelling

Your money at work

Being safe in your home, work and community is a shared responsibility that every Austin resident invests in. Austinites pay a monthly Clean Community Fee for services that keep Austin clean and enhance the livability of our neighborhoods and the downtown area.
FY 2020 $27 Million Budget by Program
  • Investigations and Compliance: $11,379,646
  • Involuntary Code Enforcement: $3,229,383
  • Support Services: $6,709,945
  • Transfers and Others: $5,858,975
  • Total: $27,177,949
pie chart of the Austin Code Department's budget during fiscal year 2020
Thank you for allowing Austin Code to share with you the highlights of our 2020 Year in Review. I am very proud of the department’s achievements and appreciate the opportunity to celebrate our progress and creativity in facing new challenges, as well as fulfilling commitments developed before the pandemic. 
The Austin Code Department annual report provides transparency regarding the department’s achievements as well as the financial position of the department. If you have questions about any of the content provided, please email us at  
- José G. Roig, Director

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