Junk (Inoperable) Car & Vehicle Rules

See also: Junk Storage & Illegal Dumping RulesParking & Car Storage Rules

What Is It?

A white woman thinking that an inoperable car should be stored in a garage not the yard.Inoperable vehicles stored on private property are considered junk storage under the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC). Under our code, an inoperable vehicle is one that can’t be safely driven or moved under its own power, for example, a car with flat tires, missing body parts, a missing or dead battery, or severe body damage. Under city codes a vehicle doesn’t need to be licensed in order to be operable.

What It Isn’t

This ordinance does not cover:

Rules to Follow

Our ordinance requires that you store junk vehicles inside a building or remove them from your property. You can’t store a junk vehicle outside on your property.

Read the Code


The first-time penalty for violating this ordinance is $150. The penalty for additional violations is $500. Fines are higher in certain zones. Inspection charges may also apply.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.