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Garage Sale Permits

The Permit Process

As of October 1, 1996, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance requiring such permits to guard against seemingly perpetual yard sales that actually were serving as unlicensed retail operations in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance limits each household to two per calendar year, unless a third sale is needed because the applicant is moving permanently from their residence.

All such sales are limited in duration to three consecutive days between 9:00 a.m. and sunset. In case of rain, the sale can be held during the next three days after the permit period, but is still limited to three total days. If more than one household is joining in a single sale, each household needs its own permit even if the sale is at the address of only one participating household.

The ordinance specifically prohibits advertising these sales with signs posted anywhere except on the property where the sale is taking place. Violators face fines ranging from $50 to $500 with each day representing a separate offense.

Charitable organizations, churches and schools are exempt from the ordinance.

English Application

Spanish Application

COVID-19 Modifications

Permits are being granted with the understanding that all residents will adhere to CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health COVID-19 Safety Guidelines found below. 

COVID-19 Garage, Yard & Apartment Sale Guidelines


As Chicago begins to reopen and given that summer is so short, we understand that garage sales and yard sales will begin popping up throughout the city.  It is important for residents to keep in mind the importance of physical distancing and hand hygiene when holding a sale to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Know How it Spreads


The virus that causes COVID-19 primarily spreads between people in close contact when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. You might also get the virus if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Follow These Guidelines


Keep yourself and your customers safe at your garage/yard sale by doing the following:

  • Place posters encouraging physical distancing for customers to see upon arrival and while shopping.

  • Set up tables and chairs at least 6 feet apart.

  • Use heavy-duty tape to form a flow for customers to follow throughout the sale.

  • Ask customers to stand in a line, while spread apart, during high traffic times.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently -- clean all tables and chairs several times throughout the day.

  • Make sure all merchandise is washed and dried and/or wiped down with a disinfectant product before placing on a table or chair for sale.

  • Wipe down all tables and chairs using disinfectant at the end of the day or in the morning before the next day of the sale.

  • Wear a cloth face covering during the sale when physical distancing is not possible.

  • Have hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol on tables and other places for customers to use.

  • Wash your own hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • If you are sick, cancel your garage sale and stay home.

COVID-19 Garage Sale Guidelines in English

COVID-19 Garage Sale Guidelines in Spanish

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