Item Coversheet


Meeting Date: 3/26/2019
Item Creation Date: 2/27/2019

ARA-Burglar Alarm Ordinance Amendments

Agenda Item#: 44.


ORDINANCE AMENDING ARTICLE III OF CHAPTER 11 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES, HOUSTON, TEXAS, relating to Burglar Alarm Systems, Permits and Penalties; containing findings and other provisions relating to the foregoing subject; providing for severability - TAGGED BY COUNCIL MEMBERS BOYKINS, STARDIG and KUBOSH

This was Item 8 on Agenda of March 20, 2019


The Administration and Regulatory Affairs (ARA) Department recommends that City Council approve an ordinance to amend Chapter 11, Article III of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances related to burglar alarm systems.  The proposed amendments were presented to City Council’s Regulation and Neighborhood Affairs Committee on February 21, 2019.


In September 2015, the Texas Legislature passed HB 2162, which created Subchapter F-1 of the Local Government Code (LGC) Sec. 214 for large municipalities located entirely or partly in large counties with a population greater than 500,000. Although the City of Houston’s existing ordinance is grandfathered until December 2020; the State law changes clarified alarm response and establish duties for alarm system companies in a manner that would strengthens our ordinance. Thus, herein we are proposing adopting amendments to align the City’s burglar alarm ordinance with the State law changes adopted in 2015.


The amendments proposed include the following: updating the definition of a false alarm; allowing alarm system owners to opt out of City of Houston response and pay a penalty if response is later requested; and establishing duties for alarm system companies to educate system operators on City alarm permit requirements and false alarm penalties.


In addition to the changes to align with State law, ARA recommends adding video images to the alarm system definition, removing the Social Security number and occupant list requirements from the permit application, making the notice and penalties final if a hearing request and supporting documentation to dispute false alarm penalties are not submitted within 30 days from notice, and removing false alarm and non-permitted penalties from the City Fee Schedule and adding them to a table within the ordinance.


Departmental Approval Authority:





__________________________­­­­­­­­­___________ __________________________________________

Tina Paez, Director                                       Other Authorization

Administration & Regulatory 

Affairs Department


Amount and Source of Funding:
NA revenue
Contact Information:

Lara Cottingham         Phone: (832) 393-8503

Kathryn Bruning         Phone: (832) 394-9414

3.5.2019 Burglar Alarm Ordinance Amendments RCA.pdfSigned Cover sheet
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