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Select the subject heading below for answers to frequently asked questions.

Always check jurisdiction of property online to determine whether it is in unincorporated King County or inside city limits. We issue new permits for property located in unincorporated King County only. For property within a city boundary such as Seattle, Issaquah, Kent, etc. in King County, you must contact the city directly.


  • Lots: What is the difference between "legal lot," "buildable lot," and "taxable lot"?
  • Zoning: What is the zoning on my property and what does it mean?
  • Setbacks: What are the setbacks for my property?
  • Subdivisions: Can my lot be subdivided?
  • Building - permitted uses: What can I build on my property?
  • Espresso stands: Can I operate an espresso stand on my parcel in a residential zone?
  • Accessory Dwelling Units: Can I build an accessory dwelling unit or an accessory living quarters on my property?
  • Building plans / records: How can I find property records, such as the original plans to my house?
  • Already Built Construction: What can I do if I buy property and find out later that a structure on the property was built without permits?
  • Boundary lines: Can RCW 58.04 be used as a method for resolving a boundary line dispute?

  • Cargo Containers:  Exemptions, Exempt structures and Code References.
  • Clearing: When is a clearing permit required? What happens if I clear my property illegally?
  • Decks and guardrails: Do I need a permit to build a deck? At what height is a guardrail required?
  • Fences: How tall of a fence can I build? Do I need a permit?
  • Grading: When is a grading permit required?
  • Roofs: Do I need a permit to repair my roof?
  • Sheds: How large of a detached shed may I build without a permit?

  • Junk vehicles: I have a junk vehicle on my property. How do I get rid of it?
  • Junk vehicle in County right-of-way: How do I get rid of a junk vehicle that I see in a county right-of-way?
  • Home auto repair shops: My neighbors are running an auto repair shop from their home. It is noisy and there are cars all over the yard and on the street. Is this legal? I don't want my neighbors to know that I complained.
  • Multiple cars on lawn: My neighbor has so many cars that the entire lot seems to be covered. I've counted 14 cars parked on the lawn. Is it legal to have that many cars?

  • Electrical: Who should I contact with questions about electrical systems or power poles?

  • Burn bans: Is there a burn ban?
  • Burning yard waste: Is a permit needed to burn yard waste?
  • Fire codes: Can my architect/builder meet with someone in the Fire Marshal's office to discuss fire code issues within our building proposal?

  • We do not issue burn permits at the County. Direct your inquiry to your local fire district.
  • Restrictions may prevent a fire district from issuing a burn permit. Burn permits cannot be issued in areas designated as urban zones.
  • King County's Solid Waste Division provides alternatives to burning wood and yard waste . Contact them at 206-296-4466.
  • A short, informational conference between the applicant and a Fire Marshal representative can be arranged at no charge.  That meeting does not exceed 30-minutes.
  • Pre-application meetings to discuss fire code issues within a building proposal are charged at a fixed fee per employee in attendance.
  • Fire Burn Ban Status OFF.      
  • Check the latest burn ban information. Call 1-800-323-BURN.
  • See the Air Actions Status on the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Web site.
  • Go to burn bans and news releases status page on this web site.
  • Check with your local fire district and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency prior to burning.