Yard sales could cost you if you don't follow Yakima ordinance

YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's the weekend, and that means yard sales in Yakima. They bring people out, hunting for a good deal.

"I like to go, you know, sometimes you can find brand-new items for pennies on the dollar," said Scott Green, who frequently goes to yard sales.

They're a way to get rid of some of your old stuff and make a little cash. But there is a limit to how many you can have per year in the city. Officials say it's so things don't get out of hand.

"Residential neighborhoods are not really designed to have businesses in them, so a yard sale can turn into, you know, like a regular business to where people are having them perpetually," said Yakima Code Enforcement Supervisor Glenn Denman.

That's not allowed without a business license. It's why you can only have two per year in city limits. Each sale cannot exceed three days.

If you don't comply with the ordinance you could face a maximum penalty of $500, jail time or both.

"It's ridiculous and crazy," said Scott.

"It's pretty steep, but I can understand if they had to maybe bring it under control," said Linda Bowman, who had a yard sale Saturday.

But Code Enforcement says it has yet to follow through with the maximum penalties. Most of the time, they only give violators a warning.

"It's not something we typically look for, because if we see someone having a yard sale, we don't automatically think, 'Oh, I wonder if they've had more than two,'" Denman said. "It's usually based on a complaint."

Codes officials say usually people aren't aware of the rule, and once they know, the yard sales stop. But, if the problem continues and complaints are filed, the violator could be fined $50 a day for each additional sale.

It's just something to keep in mind when you have your next yard sale.

If you have a complaint about excessive yard sales, you can contact Yakima Code Enforcement.