Do Trailer Dumpsters Require a Permit?

trailer dumpster full of yard waste

Updated September 20, 2023

When it’s time to clean up waste, debris, or junk from your home or business, a trailer dumpster is a useful tool for getting this type of DIY project completed efficiently.

Before getting started, it’s important to know the rules and regulations pertaining to dumpster and trailer rental usage in your area.

Is a dumpster permit required for trailer dumpster rental? The simple yet frustrating answer to this question is, “Maybe.”

While trailer dumpster rules compared to traditional roll-off containers can be less restrictive in some cities, a dumpster permit may still be required in your situation.

Jump to:

Find a trailer dumpster rental near you

Do Trailer Dumpsters Require a Permit? Infographic

When a Dumpster Permit Is Required

Anytime you obstruct the public right-of-way for an extended period of time with a large object, like a trailer or roll-off dumpster, a permit is typically required.

Instances when a permit is required for your trailer dumpster rental:

  • Placing the trailer on a city street
  • Blocking an alleyway with a dump trailer
  • Placing the trailer dumpster on the public sidewalk
  • Setting the trailer on public property

Some cities will issue a dumpster permit free of charge, while others that do charge typically only costs a small fee of around $10-$50 per week. NOT having the required dumpster permit, however, can land you with hefty fines and penalties, like $1,000+ in tickets for obstructing the public right-of-way.

It is important to check with local dumpster rental companies and/or your city's Public Works or Transportation Department to confirm whether or not a permit is required for your trailer dumpster rental.

Rules and regulations can vary from one city/township to the next, so if you rented a dumpster 5 years ago when you lived a couple zip codes away, don't make the potentially costly mistake of assuming the same rules apply.

Here are a few examples of how dumpster permit requirements vary by location:

  • New Orleans, LA – A dumpster permit is required if the container will be placed in front of the house in public view.
  • Denver, CO – Dumpster permits are required if the container is placed in the public right-of-way. The permit must be obtained by the dumpster rental company, not the customer.
  • Boston, MA – A street occupancy permit is required when placing dumpsters in the public right-of-way. Fees are based on the square footage of public space the dumpster sits on.
  • San Diego, CA – A permit is required if the dumpster is placed in the public right-of-way. Flashing barricades are required on each end of the dumpster.

Locally-owned and operated dumpster rental companies will have a thorough understanding of the local regulations and permit requirements in your area and can likely obtain a dumpster permit on your behalf.

You can also contact your city’s Public Works or Transportation Department (whichever department handles permitting) via their website or by giving them a call.

When in doubt, back up your own research by confirming your findings with your local government office. 

Keep reading: 

When a Dumpster Permit Is Not Required

Placing the trailer dumpster on your private property usually will not require a dumpster permit from the city.

This would include your driveway, yard, or other private property that would not obstruct the public right-of-way if a dumpster were to be placed there.

Depending on where you live, there may also be exceptions to permit requirements for dumpsters that DO obstruct the public right-of-way, like:

  • Smaller dumpster trailers under a certain size or length.
  • Live-loading situations where the dumpster is loaded and hauled away immediately.

With that being said, there are some cities across the U.S. where this is not the case. In large cities, like Chicago or New Orleans, permits may be required even when trailer dumpsters are placed in your residential driveway if your dumpster is visible from the street.

It’s important to always check with a local dumpster rental provider or with your city regarding whether a dumpster permit is required in your specific situation.

Keep in mind that if you belong to an HOA, you must follow their own set of rules and regulations regarding temporary dumpster placement in addition to any local jurisdiction requirements.

Benefits to Renting a Trailer Dumpster

trailer dumpster hitched to truck

There may be a few benefits to renting a trailer dumpster over a roll-off container, depending on your situation.

Here are a few advantages to each type of dumpster (size, price, etc. being the same):

Trailer Dumpsters

  • Rubber wheels lessen the chance for damage to driveways, sidewalks, yards, curbs, etc.
  • They might be more acceptable to use when HOA rules prevent roll-off container usage.
  • Trailer dumpsters are easier to reposition if necessary.

Roll-Off Dumpsters

  • Roll-off containers are more readily available and have larger size options.
  • Container swap-outs are easier with roll-off dumpsters.
  • They are better for heavy debris, like concrete.

With no black and white answer to the question of whether a dumpster permit is required for trailer dumpster rental, the only surefire way to obtain this information is to search your local government website to determine permitting requirements, and/or contact a local dumpster rental provider to inquire about any requirements in your situation.

Contact your local permitting office or dumpster rental provider well in advance of needing the dumpster onsite, as the permitting process can take several days or longer in some cases.

Planning ahead will also ensure that your preferred dumpster size is in stock for the duration of your project, so don't wait until the last minute!

When you're in need of a trailer dumpster or roll-off container, Hometown makes it easy to find reputable, locally-owned dumpster providers that service your area.

You can request free quotes from multiple providers to learn more about each company and how they operate.

By comparing the level of customer service each company offers, how informative they are about permit requirements in your neighborhood, pricing, and availability, you'll be able to confidently choose the best dumpster rental provider for your cleanup project.

We recommend getting at least three different quotes in order to make the most informed decision.

Get free trailer dumpster rental quotes near you

Learn more: