Administration & Regulatory Affairs

 

 

Commercial Permitting & Enforcement

 

 

TransportationUtility RegulationCommercial Permitting & Enforcement Franchise Administration

 

Commercial Permitting & Enforcement has five primary functions:

 

  1. Customer service
  2. Billing and collections
  3. Enforcement
  4. Burglar Alarm Administration, at www.houstonpermittingcenter.org, (Burglar Alarms dropdown)
  5. Online Permitting, at www.houstonpermittingcenter.org, (Commercial Permits dropdown)

 

To this end, we daily engage in compliance investigations, permit processing and fee collection activities associated with over 50 various commercial permits.

 

All Requirements, Expirations, and Fee Ranges:

 

 


 

 Applications (.pdf)  Permit / Ordinance

Boarding Homes, (link opens a new page) includes:

 

  • Registration Process and Application and Current Registered Homes List
Chapter 28
Common Market Chapter 7, Art. V
Mini-Warehouse Chapter 27, Sect. 27-1 to 27-6

Game Rooms

 

Chapter 5, Art. VI
Carnival Chapter 5, Art. II

Street Vendors, includes:

 

  • Application for License
  • Vendor Bond
  • Applicant Permission Form
Chapter 22, Art. I and III

Coin Operated Amusement Machine Decals

 

Chapter 44, Art. II Sec. 44-52 to 44-90

Dance Halls

Chapter 5, Art. III

Credit Access Business, (link opens a new page) includes:

 

Chapter 28, Art. XV

Sound and Noise-Related Equipment, (link opens a new page) includes:

 

  • Daily Permit
  • Extended Daily Permit
  • Annual Permit
Chapter 30

Charitable Solicitation:

 

Chapter 36, Art. V
Antique Dealer, Precious Metal Dealer, Resale Media & Clothing Dealer Chapter 7, Art. II

Metal Recycling Entities, Secondhand Metal Dealers, Secondhand Resellers

 

Related Surety Bond

Chapter 7, Art. III and Chapter 28, Art. I, Section 28-34

Sexually Oriented Businesses

 

Chapter 28, Art. II and Chapter 28, Art. III
Sexually Oriented Business Employees Chapter 28, Article VIII
Burglar & Panic Alarms Chapter 11, Article III




Front Counter Service Hours


8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday

For BUSINESS LICENSING AND ENFORCEMENT call 832.394.8803

For BURGLAR / PANIC ALARM call 832.394.8802

 

 

  • Alcohol And Alcohol-Related Business
    • Requirements: Apply with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Submit a copy of the TABC prequalification to the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department (ARA) for location approval. Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement section. Apply for any other applicable City permits or license. Pay city fees as applicable.  Chapter III, Code of Ordinances.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
      Fee Range: $10 to $1000 annually, depending on the TABC license/permit
  • Metal Recycling Entities, Second Hand Metal Dealers, Second Hand Resellers

    • Requirements:

      Submit application to the (ARA). The Burglary & Theft Division of the Houston Police Department (HPD) will conduct the onsite inspection.  Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement Section. Apply for any other applicable City permits or license. Provide a $ 10, 000 surety bond, valid at time of application and remaining in effect during the term of the license. Pay City fees

    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Antique Dealer, Precious Metal Dealer, Resale Media & Clothing Dealer (used clothing, books or records, exclusively)

    • Requirements: Submit application. ARA will conduct the inspection within 3 to 10 days.  Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement Section. Apply for any other applicable City permits or license.  Await approval of the location. Pay City fees.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Common Market

    • Requirements: Submit application.  ARA will conduct the inspection within 3 to 10 days.  Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement Section. Apply for any other applicable city permits or license. Await approval of the location. Pay City fees.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Mini-Warehouses

    • Requirements: Submit application.  ARA will conduct the inspection within 3 to 10 days.  Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement Section.  Apply for any other applicable City permits or license. Await approval of location.  Pay City fees.
    • Expiration: December 31
  • Dance Halls

    • Requirements: Submit both short and long application forms to ARA. Submit the Short Form of the application to HPD for a background check.  The location must be inspected and approved by the Fire, Police, Public Works & Engineering, and Health Departments prior to the issuance of the permit.  There is a 4 to 6 week time frame for completion of these inspections.  Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement Section.  Apply for any other applicable City permits or license.  Await approval of location.  Pay City fees.
    • Expiration: December 31
  • Game Rooms

    • Requirements: Submit application to ARA for processing and background check.  Submitted application must include the building's Certificate of Occupancy (or proof of C/O application if a new structure) from the Public Works & Engineering Department, Code Enforcement Section; and if operated under an assumed name, a copy of the registration of assumed name filed with the Clerk's Office in the county of record.  Apply for any other applicable City permits or license.  Upon approval by HPD I.D. Division, ARA will submit to HPD D.R.T. officers for onsite inspection.  Once location has been approved by D.R.T. officers, and meets all other criteria, ARA will notify applicant to pick-up Game Room permit.  Pay City fees.
    • Expiration: December 31
  • Carnival
    • Requirements: Complete an application with a copy of the lease from the property owner where the carnival will be stationed.  (If food will be offered, approval from the Health Department must be obtained prior to the issuance of this permit.  Application must also receive approval from the Fire Marshall.)  Pay City fees.
    • Expiration: Length of show
  • Burglar & Panic Alarms - Non-residential

    • Requirements: Via electronic payment, apply online through the Burglar Alarm Permits dropdown at www.houstonpermittingcenter.org; and follow instructions.  To submit application by mail, go online, download and complete application.  Mail application and payment to: ARA Alarm Administration, P.O. Box 203887, Houston, Texas 77217-3887.  Call 713-581-7410 for assistance.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Burglar & Panic Alarms - Residential

    • Requirements: Via electronic payment, apply online through the Burglar Alarm Permits dropdown at www.houstonpermittingcenter.org; and follow instructions.  To submit application by mail, go online, download and complete application.  Mail application and payment to: ARA Alarm Administration, P.O. Box 203887, Houston, Texas 77217-3887.  Call 713-581-7410 for assistance.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Coin Operated Machines

    • Requirements: Complete application listing the make, model and serial number of each machine. Purchase coin operated machine decals; properly display each decal on the proper machine.  If the coin operated machine is an amusement redemption machine, as defined by Ordinance, a Game Room permit must be obtained prior to the decals.  There is a penalty of $255 for each machine that is being operated without a decal.
    • Expiration: December 31
  • Street Vendors

    • Requirements: Applies to vendors engaged in temporary or transient business of selling, offering for sale, exhibiting merchandise for sale, or taking orders for merchandise or goods from a vehicle on the streets or who occupy a space in a building or on a vacant lot must obtain this permit. A $10,000 surety bond must be obtained before a permit is issued.  The bond must remain in full force and effect for the entire duration of the permit and for two years thereafter.
    • Expiration: 7 days from issuance
  • Credit Access Business

    • Requirements: Submit in-person or by mail completed application with a copy of current, valid State of Texas license pursuant to Chapter 393, Subchapter G of the Texas Finance Code, copy of current, valid certificate of occupancy showing the credit access business is in compliance with the City of Houston’s Construction Code and required non-refundable fees. Completed applications and fees can be submitted in person to the Houston Permitting Center, 1002 Washington Avenue, Houston 77002 or mailed to Houston Permitting Center, Administration & Regulatory Affairs – Commercial Permitting & Enforcement, P.O. Box 1561, Houston, Texas 77251-1561.
    • Go to Credit Access Business Webpage
  • Sound Amplifying Equipment

    • Requirements: A permit must be obtained by users of any loudspeaker, sound amplifier or any other machine or device which produces, reproduces, or amplifies sound outside of a building or other enclosed structure.  A copy of the completed application must be filed with the Police Department.  Events in City parks require prior reservation from the Parks & Recreation Department.
    • Go to Noise Ordinance Webpage
  • Charitable Solicitation

    • Requirements: Complete an application for a certificate of registration statement.  Submit a closing statement within 120 days of the expiration of the solicitation period..
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Adult Arcades & Adult Mini-Theatres

    • Requirements: Submit application; provide all documentation required by ordinance and pay permit fee to ARA. ARA will conduct inspection.  Once location has been approved, ARA will give notification to pick up permit.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Sexually Oriented Business Enterprise License

    • Requirements: Submit application; provide all documentation required by ordinance and pay permit fee to ARA.  ARA will direct the applicant to a designated facility for fingerprinting and the background check. ARA will conduct the inspection.  Once location has been approved, ARA will give notification to pick up license.
    • Expiration: Year to Date
  • Sexually Oriented Business Employees

    • Requirements: Submit application; provide all documentation required by ordinance and pay permit fee to ARA.  Submit a copy of the application in person to HPD for background check. Return to ARA to receive determination on status of the application.
    • Expiration: Two Years from date of issuance
  • Garage Sales / Yard Sales

    • They are not regulated by the City of Houston. The Office of the State Comptroller regulates these type of sales.  Residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a twelve-month period.  Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales tax permit from the state.  Since many subdivisions prohibit solicitation and commercial businesses within residential areas of a neighborhood, such activity is restricted.  For residents who try to operate a business in their homes, there are other city requirements that must be met.  Specifically, at a minimum, the resident must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. To summarize, there is no permit known as a "garage sale permit".
  • **Administrative Fee - $26.75**

    • On December 15, 2010 City Council passed Ordinance Number 2010-1016 which amended the City of Houston Code of Ordinances by adding “Sec. 1-14 Administrative Fee”.  In 2013, Section 1-14 requires an administrative fee of $26.75 to be collected at the time of application for any license, permit or service for which the fee is greater than $50.00.  This includes all renewals regardless of whether or not an application is filed. This fee is in addition to the fee for the license, permit or service..