Will $15 permit prevent garage sales from hell?

All over Dallas, every weekend, people are running illegal businesses from their front yards. Serial garage sales violate city code, which only allows sales at a residence twice a year.

Not only that, but some seem to be fencing stolen goods, such as appliances still in their boxes, office furniture, vacuum cleaners, toiletries and brand-new lawnmowers.

City Council agreed 8-7 last week to create a $15 permit for garage sales, which are allowed twice a year. The city estimates the new fee could raise $250,000 in revenue, which would go to fund the Dallas Arboretum and cultural arts centers. The permit fee could be included in the city’s final budget, which the Council is expected to approve Wednesday, Sept. 22.

“It’s a free-for-all,” says Gay Revi of Oak Cliff, whose blog, Garage Sales from Hell, helped draw the Council’s attention to illegal sales. “There is no permit system now. That’s why there’s such chaos.”

Revi, who also blogs as the Granny Geek, noticed that some of her neighbors were putting on “garage sales” every weekend. And sometimes, they would back up a truck and unload stuff that looked brand new.

Some wonder whether a permit and fee really would deter that kind of thing. And even if it does, whether the cost to enforce it could outweigh the revenues.

But Revi says the new permitting process will make it easier for the city to enforce its garage sale rules. Without a permit requirement, code enforcement had to recieve a complaint and then send an inspector out to see whether the sale violated code. Now, code enforcement can pull up on any sale and ask for a permit. And the fine for an illegal garage sale could be $200 or more.

“It’s a lot smarter to get the permit than to have to pay a fine,” Revi says.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.
  • OCBlues

    Too easy! I’m side-stepping that new law and putting my own personal museum on display in my front yard every weekend. See the actual saw I used to construct the playhouse before I got a new one two years ago! Hold the glass I was holding when i found out my wife was pregnant with our first child! Touch the actual game of Risk the family was playing when our neighbors brought over the new puppy ten years ago!

    Donations gladly accepted.

  • Stephen

    What I have yet to see explained is how the yearly permit will restrict the sales to two a year. Will the seller be required to pick two dates for the coming year and will those dates be on the permit? If not, what’s to prevent someone from having a garage sale every week and showing the same permit? They should have stuck with a fee per sale and allowed sellers to register on line and print the permit with the date shown. This now seems just like a revenue play, not an effort to reign in the frequent garage sales.