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Determine Whether to Register a Building

The following questions will help you to determine whether you need to register a building you own as occupied, under construction, vacant or exempt from registration.

Question 1: Is your building occupied?

No: Continue to question 2.

Yes: Complete the Response Form

  • Check the box “My building is occupied” in Step 2.
  • Include a water bill and any other utility bills for the period when the building became occupied.
  • If verified, your tax rate will NOT change for the applicable fiscal year going forward, and you will receive a confirmation letter from the Vacant Building Enforcement unit.

Question 2: Does your building meet any of the following criteria?

  • The building is under active construction or undergoing active rehabilitation, renovation, or repair.
  • You have been actively seeking to rent or sell the building.
  • The building is subject of a probate proceeding or the title is the subject of litigation.
  • The property is the subject of a pending application for development that requires approval of the Board of Zoning Adjustment, Zoning Commission, Commission on Fine Arts, Historic Preservation Review Board, Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation, or National Capital Planning Commission.

No: Your building is vacant.

  • D.C. Official Code § 42-3131.06 requires that you register your vacant building with the Vacant Building Enforcement unit within 30 days of it becoming vacant.
  • Failure to register your building can result in civil and/or criminal penalties of $2,000 in fines per violation and up to 90 days imprisonment.  
  • You MUST submit the Vacant Building Response Form along with a $250 registration fee.
  • Your property will be taxed at the Class 3 real tax rate - currently $5.00 per $100 of assessed value.  In addition, all vacant properties must meet certain maintenance standards per D.C. Official Code §42-3131.12.

Yes: Your building may be exempt.

  • You must complete the Response Form. Check the box next to the exemption you are claiming in Step 2, and provide the required supporting documents listed next to it. It is very important that you include all the required documents with your response form.
  • If approved, your property’s tax rate will not be changed for the applicable fiscal year ONLY, and you will receive a confirmation letter from the Vacant Building Enforcement unit.
  • If denied, your property will be taxed at the Class 3 rate and you will receive a denial notice with appeal instructions from the Vacant Building Enforcement unit.
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