Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. When is a Building Permit required?
A. Any building or structure that is erected, constructed, enlarged, altered repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished requires a Building Permit prior to any work being started. There are some exemptions from permit requirements.  It is always best to call or stop by the Building Division and check before any work is started.

Q. Do I need a permit to build a fence or wall at my house?
A. Fences and non-retaining masonry walls not over 3 feet in height, measured from finished grade to the top of the wall do not require a permit.  Retaining walls not over 2 feet in height, measured from finished grade to the top of the wall do not require a permit.  All other fences and walls require a building permit.

Q. How high can I build my wall?
A. Fence heights must comply with La Quinta Municipal Code Section 9.60.030.  If you need help in determining these requirements it is best to call or stop by the Building Division and check before any work is started. 

Q. My neighbor has an eight-foot wall in his front yard.  Why can’t I do the same?
A. Properties developed prior to the City’s incorporation in 1982 were under the jurisdiction of the County of Riverside.  Walls built prior to that time are allowed to remain as existing, “nonconforming structures.”  There are conditions where higher walls may be allowed.  For example, if your property is two feet higher than your neighbors, you may be able to build a two foot retaining wall with a six foot garden wall on top.

Q. I am installing a new air conditioner.  Do I need a permit?
A. Yes, a building permit is needed.  There are guidelines in place to ensure that your new A/C meets state mandated energy requirements.  It’s also a safeguard for the homeowner.  If your A/C is replaced without a permit and a fire results, your homeowner’s insurance may refuse to pay the claim because the work was done without a permit.  Permit fees cover the cost of all inspections required to see that the installation meets the minimum standards as defined by the current Building Codes.

Q. Is a permit required to add a patio cover to my house?
A. Freestanding patio covers not exceeding 120 square feet (roof area) are exempt from building permits, but still must comply with La Quinta Municipal Code Section 9.60.040 for setback requirements and have home owner association approval (if applicable). Any patio cover exceeding 120 square feet and any patio cover attached to the house requires a permit.  

Q. I just bought a new home and I'm unhappy with some of the construction work. 
A. We encourage you to contact the contractor to resolve your concerns. If you are not able to resolve your dispute with your contractor, you can contact the Contractors State License Board(CSLB).  The CSLB has jurisdiction over licensed and unlicensed contractors.

Q. I want to buy a storage shed from a local store.  Is a building permit required?
A. One story detached accessory buildings used as tool or storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses are exempt from Building Permits if the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet. The shed still must comply with La Quinta Municipal Code Section 9.60.050 setback requirements.

Q. How can I find a contractor?
A. The Desert Contractor's Association can make recommendations for licensed contractors. Their phone number is (760) 200-9202.  Before hiring a contractor, check the Contractors State License Board’s website to ensure you are working with a licensed contractor. Ask your prospective contractor for references. When you call the references, you can ask questions like:  Did they show up on time? Were there any extra or hidden costs?  How much time did the contractor estimate the project would take, and how long did it actually take?

Q.  I live in the La Quinta Cove and want to change from septic to sewer. What do I do?
A. You should contact the Coachella Valley Water District to pay the "sanitation capacity charge" (connection fee).  Bring your receipt to The HUB Permit Center at City Hall to obtain your Building Permit.  If you need to find a contractor to do the work, check with the Desert Contractor's Association at (760) 200-9202. Contractor fees for the work can vary widely. Your contractor can also apply for the building permit for you.

Q. How can I get a copy of permits that were issued for my house or business?
A. The City Clerk has public record documents available on this website here. If you cannot find what you are looking for you may submit a Request for Public Records. Requests are typically fulfilled within ten days or less.