If you are looking to build a carport on your property, you probably have a few questions about the setback requirements. Specifically, how close to the boundary can you build a carport?
How close your carport can be built to the boundary of your property depends on your local council’s regulations.
This is because the specific measurements and regulations that apply to carports vary from county to county.
Key Carport Building Facts To Be Aware of
You can find your county’s regulations on their website. In some cases, regulations will vary from town to town within the county. If this is the case, the county’s website will usually provide information on each town’s requirements.
When looking through the regulations and requirements, there are a few questions you should focus on answering.
|Key Question||Why It is Important|
|What access is needed?||Carports need legal access to a road.|
|Do you need a building permit?||Depending on the size of your carport, you may need a building permit.|
|How close can you build to the boundaries?||You need to know the setback requirements from the side boundaries as well as the rear and front boundaries because these often differ.|
|Are there appearance requirements?||Some councils have regulations about the number of columns or the overall appearance of a carport.|
|Can you still build a carport if you are a rear site?||Sites that do not have a road on their front boundary are subject to different boundary rules.|
|Is your land big enough or shaped correctly to legally build a carport on?||Many states require enough space for your car to be able to turn around after backing out of the carport.|
|Can your carport be connected to your house?||Carports attached to houses may be subject to different regulations.|
What Does the Building Code Say?
Each state has its own set of laws about the required construction and design standards associated with home construction. With that being said, many counties and city governments also have their own set of specific laws in association with the building code.
To ensure your carport meets all of the requirements, you should check with both your state and local government’s building code.
When looking through the building code, there will be a section that describes what type of building is exempt from having to receive a building permit. If carports are not on this list, you will need to obtain one.
Acquiring A Building Permit
If you need to acquire a building permit, you will have to file for one. This usually involves providing information like:
- A description of the proposed work
- Construction documents
- Possibly a Local Regulation Compliance Certificate
- Your street address
You will likely have to pay a fee when requesting a permit. If you have any questions about the permit process, talk to your town clerk.
An advantage of filing for a building permit is that it will help you to know if you are complying with all of your state and local government regulations. If you aren’t, it won’t be approved.
Pay Attention To Appearance Requirements
Before submitting a construction plan for review, you need to ensure your carport meets all of your local government’s appearance requirements. Some councils have regulations pertaining to:
- The materials used
- The number of columns
- The requirement of a lattice or overhang
If your carport does not meet the correct appearance requirements, your building permit will not be approved.
Can The Carport Be Attached To My House?
Most councils allow for your carport to be attached to your house. However, they may be subject to different regulations.
For example, some councils require you to use specific building materials if it is going to be attached to a house.
What Are the Setback Requirements for Carports?
Each local government has its own setback requirements for carports. You can find yours on your local government’s website.
When looking at setback requirements, you need to consider how close the carport can be built to:
- The front of the property
- The rear of the property
- The sides of the property
In many counties, the front of the property is the side that faces the road. If your property has a road on two sides of it, then it has two fronts.
With that being said, if your property has two neighboring properties to it and two fronts, then it has two sides and no rear.
If your property is not directly bordered by a road and you have to pass through someone else’s to get to it, then you are considered a rear property. This means that all sides of your property are considered the rear side.
What If My Property Is Too Small?
If your property is oddly shaped or too small to meet the specific setback requirements, you may not be able to build a carport.
However, some local governments do have exceptions in place for certain plots that have existed for a certain amount of time.
You may also be able to apply for a special use request if you can make a case. This oftentimes involves a public hearing and an extra fee though.
Pay Attention to Height and Depth Restrictions
Some local governments have height and depth restrictions associated with setback requirements.
For example, in West Hollywood, if your carport is built in the front of your property it cannot be taller than fifteen feet. If the carport is attached and built on the side, it cannot be more than twenty feet deep.
Should I Let My Neighbor Know, Can They Object?
If you have acquired the proper permits and your carport meets all the required setback laws, your neighbor can not object.
Your neighbor can go to the local planning board to try to revoke your permit. As long as you have ensured that you are doing everything within regulation though, they will not succeed.
The only time a neighbor can object to you building anything on your own property is if your building causes damage to their property by compromising their:
- Subjacent support
- The support underneath their property (ie: excavation can cause houses to shift down)
- Lateral support
- The support against floods, landslides, and cave-ins
Is View Obstruction A Real Thing?
Your neighbor may try claiming that your carport is blocking their view. However, this is not an actionable nuisance and therefore they can not do anything about it.
Avoiding Noise Ordinance Violations
When building the carport, you should be aware of your local government’s noise ordinance.
Your neighbor may be allowed to complain about the noise of you constructing your carport if you are constructing outside of allotted hours.
For example, in most places, you are not allowed to do construction from about 8 pm to 6:30 am.
You Do Not Have to Let Your Neighbors Know
Essentially what this boils down to is that you don’t have to let your neighbors know about your carport.
If you have gone through all the correct processes of learning the setback requirements and understanding the building code, there is nothing they can do about it.
However, you should be mindful of the noise your construction may make and ensure you are doing it within the allowed hours for your local area.
It may be best to let your neighbor know to prevent a bad relationship between you too. They may have preferred hours when you can work to keep the peace. However, it is not necessary to tell them if you do not want to.
Can I Put a Carport on the Front of My House?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to build a carport in front of your house.
Some communities allow you to build a carport in the front of your house only under certain circumstances.
For example, in Vernon, Texas, you can only build a carport in your front yard if:
- If it meets visibility standards
- If you can not easily access the rear with your vehicle
- There isn’t enough space in the side yard to support a carport
However, many communities do not allow you to build a carport in your front yard under any circumstances.
These regulations will vary from community to community. Check your local government’s requirements to see if you are allowed to build in front of your house.
If you plan on building a carport on your property, you need to make sure you go through all the correct steps to ensure it is done legally.
Basic steps include:
- Checking your local government’s building codes
- Checking setback requirements
- Checking appearance and location requirements
- Developing construction plans
- Acquiring the correct permits and certificates
- Building with noise ordinance and the neighbor’s properties wellbeing in mind
Checking with both your state and local governments’ requirements for carport installation will ensure everything is done legally.
If you have questions about any part of the process your county clerk should be able to help.