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Lifecycle of a Housing Code Inspection

exterior of house with bags of trash

ADVISORY: DCRA Announces Enforcement and Consumer Protection Enhancements

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) issues two types of notices - a Notice of Violation (NOV) and a Notice of Infraction (NOI).

  • An NOV identifies violations of the DC Building Codes and orders a property owner to abate - or fix - the violation within a mandatory time period.
  • An NOI is issued if the violations cited in the NOV are not fixed within the mandatory time period. If you are issued an NOI you are also issued a civil penalty (fine).

Example Lifecycle of a Housing Code Inspection

  • Step One: Residents can report possible housing code violations to DCRA via (202) 442-9557 or dcra.housingcomplaints@dc.gov.
  • Step Two: DCRA performs triage based on the complaint in an attempt to get the owner to come into compliance and alleviate the tenant’s complaint. DCRA schedules and conducts an initial inspection if the initial triage process fails. Inspection is completed within 24 hours of complaint for emergencies; within 15 to 20 days of complaint for routine maintenance inspections.
  • Step Three: After an initial inspection, an inspector will document any violation(s) to create a Notice of Infraction (NOI) Violation with an abatement period of 7 days to correct the issue.
  • Step Four: A property owner is served an NOI via Email or U.S. Mail. If the property owner fails to respond to the NOI, the NOI is also filed at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
  • Step Five: A property owner can either pay the fine associated with the NOI or appeal it. If appealed, OAH will schedule a hearing. For more information, visit the OAH Website.

How a Notice of Infraction is Issued

DCRA may conduct a re-inspection of the property on or after the date a property owner is required to complete abatement. 

If DCRA determines that you have failed to correct the violations(s) within the specified period of time, the case may be referred to the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia for criminal prosecution. In addition, DCRA has the right to abate any life/safety conditions for which a property owner has been cited pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 42-3131.01 and other law, and to assess the costs of correcting the condition as a tax on the premises. 

Failure to pay such costs will result in a lien being placed upon a property that could result in the property being sold at a tax sale.

Lead Paint Hazard

Whenever work related to abatement of NOV could result in the disturbance of lead paint, the respondent shall abide by all applicable provisions of the "Lead-Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act of 2008" and the EPA "Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule" regarding lead-based paint activities, including adherence to "lead-safe work practices." For more information, go to https://ddoe.dc.gov under "Lead and Healthy Housing"

Requests for Extensions

You may request additional time to correct the conditions specified in Notices of Infractions. Extension requests must be in writing and submitted to: The Chief Building Official Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024, prior to the expiration of the time set for making the corrections. The Inspector who issued the Notice of Infraction does not have the authority to grant an extension. Extensions will not be granted unless a property owner can demonstrate that (a) they have been proceeding in good faith to correct the violations, and (b) there is good cause for the delay.

Any questions about Notices of Violation may be directed to the Inspections and Compliance Administration at (202) 481-3524.

Appeal Rights

You have the right to challenge a Notice of Violation requiring you to correct the violation(s) cited by requesting a hearing. To request a hearing, you may obtain a copy of the appeal form from the Office of Administrative Hearings located at One Judiciary Square 441 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 or ask that it be faxed to you. You may file the appeal form in person at the Office of Administrative Hearings, or you may fax it to (202) 442-9451. 

Alternatively, you may mail your appeal form requesting a hearing to the Office of Administrative Hearings at P.O. Box 77880, Washington, D.C. 20013-8880. Any notice of violation that you are appealing should be attached to your appeal form.

Your appeal must be filed within the timeframe specified for correction in the notice. If the last day for filing your appeal falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday in the District of Columbia, then your appeal period for requesting a hearing extends to the next business day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. You may call the Office of Administrative Hearings at (202) 442-9094 for assistance.

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