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Public Information Brochures

Due to the complexity of certain forms, not all permits, brochures, applications or documents are available. If you have questions, call the corresponding section for help. 

Citywide Building Related Items 

VACANT BUILDING REGISTRATION PROGRAM (DNS-29A) - For details on this code see Milwaukee Code of Ordinances 200-51.7. Non-exempt owners have 30 days from the date the building becomes vacant to file this form. The cost to register is FREE for the initial filing and the 6-month period. If after six months the building continues to remain vacant, a follow-up inspection will be made and if vacant, a fee will be charged. Each subsequent 6-month period of vacancy will trigger an inspection and fee. Owner is responsible for all exterior and interior as well as lot maintenence. Failure to properly maintain the vacant building could result in increased renewal fees.

CONTACTS FOR BUILDING OWNERS (DNS-105) - We still make house calls! An overview brochure containing many of the common contact numbers for issues related to buildings. Topics include permits, new construction, complaints, litter, noise, abandoned autos, animals, and just about anything related to neighborhoods. Produced by DNS, but contains related information for many other City departments.

FESTIVAL AND EVENT PLANNERS CHECKLIST (DNS-140) - Thinking of hosting a festival or an event that will use a tent or serve food?  Here is a list of the top ten most common code violations that can delay or prevent your event from opening on time. Use this handy list to prevent costly delays and protect your patrons from possible harm. This should be the first document you read after you come up with the name and date of your event!

Compliance Loan Program

 - The City of Milwaukee is offering loans to those with code violations on their homes to reinvest in their existing property by providing an interest free loan to finance the alterations and improvements necessary for compliance with building codes. Loans from $1,000-$15,000 are available at 0% interest. Learn all the details.


BARRIERS ON COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS - Owners of commercial buildings who place barriers in front of their business must adhere to specific limits and rules regarding their use. This brochure covers most of the basics and makes owners aware of issues they must address when using such devices.

COURTESY INSPECTIONS (DNS-178) - Owners of commercial buildings who want to learn what codes will be applied to the building they are considering to use should consider this option. Inspectors will go through a building with an eye toward the proposed occupancy and use plan to create a report of their concerns and modifications needed for current code compliance. They can learn to review the process before they start or decided to begin construction to avoid any hidden "issues" that will impact their project. This information will aid with planning and proper use of building resources to avoid errors and delays that will run up costs. Review who to contact and how to use a courtesy inspection to your advantage.

HOW TO BUILD STEPS BROCHURE (DNS-107) - Answers to common problems for building stairs to porches and how to DO-IT-YOURSELF with step by step instructions.

OCCUPANCY BROCHURE (DCD BROCHURE) - If you are opening a business, changing an occupancy or changing use, you may need an occupancy inspection. Check this brochure to find out what has to happen BEFORE you open for business.

SIGNS ON STORE FRONT BUILDINGS - Every business owner needs to know what kind of signs can be used. Rules regulate the size, number and location. Also the amount of window space painted window signs can occupy is regulated. This brochure covers the fundamentals and provides a good overview of the regulations controlling sign use.

Code Enforcement

APARTMENT LIFE-KEEPING IT LEGAL (DNS-100) - You have your first apartment. While you enjoy your new freedom, you have a new responsibility as well. This brochure helps you understand your responsibility, rights and ways to avoid losing your lease. Written mostly to aid students and young renters in campus areas.

ADDRESS NUMBERS-A NUMBER YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT! (DNS-106) - All buildings in the City of Milwaukee require an address number. Dwellings with an alley require an additional address number be posted on the back.  How is the fire truck going to find the right house? Help the police get to the right location when driving down an alley.  This flyer explains the proper ways to post an address on a property.

BED BUGS - HOW TO DELIVER THE ONE-TWO PUNCH TO GET RID OF BED BUGS (DNS-311) - Some of the best hotels are now home to this pest that is showing up all across the country. Getting rid of them is a two part process that involves complete cooperation and planning. Learn about how they spread, what to look for and what ways work best to get rid of this tough critter. A must read for any building property manager.

CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS REQUIRED (DNS-139) - State law now requires at least ONE Carbon monoxide Alarm for each floor including the basement and/or within 15 ft of every sleeping area for the following types of occupancy: The residential types included in the new regulations are one and two family homes, any building with 3 units or more used for sleeping or lodging, such as hotels, motels, condominiums, apartment buildings, dormitories, fraternities, sororities, convents, seminaries, jails, prisons, home shelters, and community-based residential facilities. Type required depends on year built. Learn where to place them and what the code says.

COMMON FIRE CODE VIOLATIONS BROCHURE (DNS-149) - A guide to help determine if the building could pass a common fire code inspection.

INTERNATIONAL FIRE CODE SIGNAGE REQUIREMENTS (DNS-143) - The City of Milwaukee recently adopted the code requirements in the International Fire Code. As a result, many of the old signage requirements are now defined under a new code. This brochure is a summary of the most important requirements that all commercial and business occupancies should be aware of.

JUNK COLLECTOR RULES BROCHURE (Requisitos Establecidos para Vehículos Recolectores de Chatarra) (DNS-165) - Thinking about setting up a business as a junk collector? Learn the rules and regulations before you begin. Find out what activities are regulated and what forms are needed to start work in this business. Be sure to check with the property owner if the building or property is leased. (See forms for Home Occupation and Owner's Consent form if operating out of a residence.

GRAFFITI REMOVAL TECHNIQUES (DNS-190) - A guide to the types of graffiti, how to remove it and a rating of the various products used in the process. Advice from the Milwaukee Christian Center Neighborhood Improvement Program which has had considerable experience in graffiti removal. (See Residential Section for more advice on improving neighborhoods.) SPANISH VERSION DNS-190

TELEPHONE CONTACTS FOR GRAFFITI REMOVAL (DNS-192) - Have you seen graffiti on a mailbox, dumpster or utility pole? Here are some valuable numbers to call to get it removed. SPANISH VERSION DNS-192

HAZARDOUS MATERIAL SIGNAGE REQUIREMENTS (HAZBRO704) - A guide to help determine the required signage for storage of flammable, reactive, unstable, and biological hazardous materials.

SECURITY DEADBOLT BROCHURE (DNS-150v45) - A guide to help determine the security needs of most residential and apartment unit dwellings. Advice about type, construction, function and placement.

SMOKE ALARM BROCHURE (DNS-147) - State law now requires at least ONE alarm for each floor including the basement and/or within 6 ft of every sleeping area. Here's a guide for 1 & 2 family homes.  Also,  ALL alarms within 20 feet of a primary cooking appliance are required to be a "hush" type meaning capable of resetting without removing the battery.  Also passed on  September 1, 2011 battery operated detectors in Commercial Residential buildings (3+ units) will require a 10-year nonreplaceable battery type smoke alarm as older alarms expire. All battery operated smoke alarms must be 10-Year lithium non-removable battery by October 1, 2017. (NOTE:Requires LEGAL SIZE paper!)

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLANS (DNS-141) - Are you prepared for an emergency that will require the evacuation of your building? Are you required to file a plan? How often must you drill? Answer to these and many other related questions are available in this brochure.


NIMALS-PROBLEMS OR PLEASURE (DNS-345) - You own a cat, dog or you know what the rules say? This brochure contains valuable information about licensing, leashing, and maintenance requirements related to most domestic animals. If you want to be legal, you'll want to read this brochure or give it to someone who has a pet.

ASBESTOS IN THE HOME (DNS-77) - A brochure on where to find asbestos throughout the home and in buildings. Tips on removing, handling and proper disposal of asbestos. Questions you should ask a professional asbestos removable company before they begin work.

BEEKEEPING IN THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE (DNS-309) - Thinking about raising bees in Milwaukee? Wondering about what rules are required? This brochure will cover the common questions about honey bees, their environment, behaviour and the steps needed to be taken to raise bees. A list of local beekeeping groups and resouces is also available in the brochure.

Chicken Coop Brochure DNS-361 - This brochure contains all the information about how to apply, what chickens can be raised, the conditions of their care, and who must sign-off their approval near the chicken coop.  A must read for anyone wishing to obtain a permit to keep chickens in Milwaukee. People seeking a permit to raise chickens should visit the our informational webpage about keeping chickens in the city of Milwaukee and download the Chicken Coop Site Plan Form DNS-362.

NOISE  COMPLAINTS (DNS-120) - What can citizens do about noise in their neighborhoods? What actions will DNS take? What rights do tenants and landlords have with regards to unwanted noise. This brochure answers the most common questions and alerts owners how to avoid costly penalties.

DEALING WITH NUISANCE VEHICLES (DNS-14) - A comprehensive guide to identifying the criteria that make a nuisance vehicle, the process of removing them, and common questions and answers about vehicle storage, parking and numbers allowed.

PITTBULL AND ROTTWEILER DOG ORDINANCE (English) (DNS-360) - Answers for owners of Rottweilers and Pit Bulls in the City of Milwaukee. Caging requirements, handler's minimum age, fencing and kenneling requirements, general licensing requirements.

PITBULL Brochure Spanish Version (DNS-360) - Requisitos de la ordenanzade la ciudad de milwaukee para los Pitbull y Rottweiler. Correas y Licencias, La cerca o jaula, asistencia a clases de compor-tamiento de perros, Límites de edad para dueños Y Distancia de la vía pública.

PROBLEMS WITH PIGEONS? (DNS-305) - A review of what problems pigeons create, how they breed, roost and spread other potential problems. Contains diagrams on how to protect your property from the birds, locate bird feeders, and how to minimize their negative impact. Also included is the code about creating harborages for nuisance animals.

TIRE HAULER AND WASTE TIRE GENERATORS (DNS-115) - An overview of the regulations and permits required for the handling of tires. Haulers, automotive, garage, and tire stores should know all of these regulations and processes.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT LITTER (DNS-127) - A guide to identifying litter types and which City agency can respond. Tips for citizens to work with officials to keeping their neighborhoods clean. Deals with all kinds of junk...nuisance vehicles, garbage, litter, trash, waste tires, etc. Includes information on how Community Groups can participate with a Community Contact Letter. Neighbors can use the letter to contact and reinspect problem properties that if go unchanged, DNS will issue formal clean-up orders on.

SOLVING RAT PROBLEMS (DNS-303) - Got a problem with rats? Learn the ways to get rid of them and then keep them away.  Tips for eliminating their food source, their nest, and places they can hide. Discover ways to fortify your home's doors, windows and plumbing system to stop entry by rodents. Learn the right way to use poisons and handling of traps. (Note: This is a LEGAL SIZE brochure.)

Landlord Training

So You Want to be a Landlord (DNS-119) - Learn the fine points of what's all involved in becoming a landlord or owning property in the City of Milwaukee. Tips on dealing with tenants, leases, the eviction process, Zoning codes, Exterior maintenance, property management, appeal rights, Certificate of Code Compliance, Property Registration, reinspection fees, taxroll charges, fire inspections, licenses to sell, and more.

TENANT RESPONSIBILITY GUIDE (DNS-110) - A Spanish/English version of the primary responsibilities of tenants and the items under their control. Includes garage, pests, noise, and fire safety. A must have for every landlord to give to each new or existing tenant.

RECOMMENDED PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (DNS-400) - Here's a top 10 list from the police and building inspection about the most common items they are called for and the landlord potentially may have to pay for! Learn the right way to deal with noise, litter, crime, and other serious issues that threaten the loss of the property. Tips on screening, leases, student renters, contacting community groups and dealing with complaints from neighbors.

MILWAUKEE'S CHRONIC NUISANCE PROPERTY ORDINANCE (DNS-130) - It's too late. You've got a ticket from the Police and your property is the target of angry neighbors and public agencies. What are your rights? What should you do? How do neighbors call in a complaint on such a property? How many complaints trigger a response? How much is the fine? Could I lose the property? Find answers to these questions and more in this brochure. There is a listing of the processes used to control property with a chronic occurrence of crime, neglect and repeated calls for intervention by City services. Advice for owners, neighbors and tenants about how this ordinance can impact them. It is a must have for every Landlord in Milwaukee. Also a good reference for any community group dealing with a problem property.

DON'T RENT TROUBLE! (DNS-113) - STOP! Don't rent that apartment until you have read this brochure. Learn what to look for in an apartment before the headaches and disappointment begin. What should work? What must the landlord disclose? What are my rights if something goes wrong? Who to a call to make a complaint? How to check out a property BEFORE I rent it. What is my landlord really like? Can I trust them?

CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY (DNS-117) - You are a landlord and you are ready to rent. This is a must read brochure if you want to protect your property from destructive tenants. It explains the information you need to complete at the time of the lease to effectively prosecute those tenants who cause damage to your property. If done correctly it may help the Milwaukee Police and the City Attorney's office to assist you in bringing charges against those who ruin your property in a criminal matter. Learn all the tips to preventing future damage as well. (Printable version for folding)

Plumbing Section

CROSS CONNECTIONS AND BACK FLOW BROCHURE (DNS-124) - Learn how a garden hose can be the source of deadly contamination. Cross Connections can also contaminate household drinking water. Commercial buildings will soon be inspected for cross connections. Find out what actions to take to avoid problems.

Last update 11/18/2019