Why does the City of Long Beach regulate Garage Sales?
Due to the concerns of their constituents, City Council requested staff to address the issue of continuous and unpermitted garage sales and develop recommendations to address the community's concerns. On October 15, 1998, staff from the departments of Financial Management, Police, and Development Services met with 21 representatives from various community groups in order to gain a citywide perspective on garage sales. The consensus from this group was that garage sales should not be prohibited; however, they identified numerous concerns:
- A significant amount of noise is generated at garage sales.
- The same individuals without permits are conducting numerous garage sales at the same location.
- Individuals, who are actually in business, are paying residents to have garage sales at various locations to avoid having to obtain a commercial site and a business license.
- New merchandise is being purchased for resale at garage sales.
- Garage sales are being conducted on vacant lots.
- Merchandise from garage sales is being displayed on the sidewalk and obstructing the public right-of-way.
- Stolen merchandise is being sold at garage sales.
- Signs advertising garage sales are being posted on street trees, utility poles, street signs and parkways in violation of the Municipal Code.
- There is the potential for continuous garage sales at multi-unit residential locations.
Effective October 1, 2011, the fee for a garage sale has been set at $17.00 (seventeen dollars) and is to be used to finance the cost of obtaining garage sale compliance.
When can you have a Garage Sale?
- First, you must have a garage sale permit—it must be conspicuously displayed!
- Single family residence: authorized two permits per street address per calendar year. Each permit has a $17.00 fee.
- Multi-family residence: authorized one permit per street address per calendar quarter. Each permit has a $17.00 fee.
- Multi-family garage sale (also known as block sale) counts as one garage sale for each participating family and each participating family and address must be included on the permit. Each permit has a $17.00 fee.
- Each garage sale permit is for 3 consecutive days. If inclement weather on 2 of 3 days, then replacement permit may be requested within one week.
- Hours of operation: garage sales may only operate between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
What can you sell at a Garage Sale?
- Only the personal property of persons named on the permit may be sold.
- “Personal Property” does not include property that has been consigned to, or acquired by, the permitee(s) for the purpose of resale.
- The personal property for sale shall be set out for display in any open garage, yard, or patio—it must not block a public thoroughfare!
How do you obtain a permit?
- Apply online for a garage sale permit. You may apply online if you have a Long Beach utility bill in your name and/or if you have previously applied for a garage sale permit at this location.
- At City Hall, 4th floor, Business License Section: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or you can download the application, fill it out and return with your payment to City Hall, 4th Floor Business License Section .
- At the South City of Long Beach Police Substation: Seven days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- At the North, East, and West City of Long Beach Police Substations: Schedule varies. Please contact the desired substation before you apply. Their contact information is located at the bottom of the Garage Sale Regulations Summarized page, attached to the application.
- For proof of identification and address you must bring a driver's license (or California Identification Card). If your current address is not on your driver's license, you must also bring a utility bill indicating you live at the address.
- For a multi-family garage sale, the representative needs to submit a signed application and copy of utility bill for each participant to City Hall.
What types of signs are authorized?
- Only one sign is authorized and it must be on the garage sale property.
- The sign can be no larger than 4 feet in height nor 6 square feet in area.
- No signs pointing to or advertising the garage sale other than the one above are authorized.
How is the Garage Sale ordinance enforced?
- There is License Inspector coverage from the City's Business License Section six days per week.
- There is a Garage Sale Hotline, (562) 570-YARD, for requesting garage sale information after hours or for calling in garage sale complaints.
What are the penalties for violating the Garage Sale ordinance?
- The first violation is an infraction with a $200.00 fine.
- The second violation is an infraction with a $400.00 fine.
- Third and subsequent violations are misdemeanors with a fine not to exceed $500.00 and/or up to 90 days in County Jail.
What has changed?
- Garage sale hours are shorter: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. rather than 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- You can now get garage sale permits at police substations or by downloading the application.
- You can now apply for a garage sale permit online.
- Multi-family residences are restricted to one garage sale per calendar quarter.
- There is full-time weekend enforcement of the garage sale ordinance.
- The first and second violations are infractions rather than misdemeanors.
- Garage Sale Permit fee is now $17.00 (seventeen dollars).
- You can now find garage sales in Long Beach online.
Questions? You may email the Business License Section or call us at (562) 570-6211.