The Department of Buildings (DOB) Office of Strategic Code Enforcement is responsible for code enforcement, civil infractions, and fine assessment. Enforcement is a key component of safety. Our efficient process offers landlords timely notice to address potential violations while tenants are informed throughout each stage of the enforcement process.
DOB issues Notices of Infraction (NOIs) to property owners that fail to abate commercial, construction, and property maintenance code violations or otherwise violate District of Columbia laws, rules, and regulations under the authority of the Department of Buildings. NOIs are filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to prosecute violations to the fullest extent of the law. DOB collects all fines, penalties, and interest associated with violations adjudicated by OAH. Respondents who abate their infractions within the provided deadlines can avail themselves of alternative resolution, significantly lowering or eliminating the assessed fine(s).
Additionally, DOB places liens on properties when violators fail to pay outstanding fines and for the costs associated with the government correcting property violations. For more information about how compliance is enforced by DOB, please check out our Enforcement Graphic.
When DOB corrects property violations, a lien is levied against the property as a cost incurred for correcting the violations. Payment is due immediately. To make a payment, use the online payment portal. For questions, please email [email protected] with reference to the property address, square and lot, and Control Number.
License Suspension and Revocation for Non-Payment
Without the benefit of a successful appeal, if payment is not received, on the 181st day after a Final Order is issued by the Office of Administrative Hearings, non-professional business licenses will be immediately suspended and amounts owed to DOB will be forwarded to the Office of Tax and Revenue Central Collection Unit for collection and legal action. Subsequent action may result in the permanent revocation of the business license.
License Suspension and Revocation Due to Conduct
For business license holders and property owners that violate District licensure requirements, including professional license requirements, or otherwise violate District of Columbia laws, rules, and regulations under the authority of the Department of Buildings, a Cease and Desist Letter will be issued immediately demanding corrective action. Failure to comply will result in a suspension of the business license associated with the entity and may lead to permanent revocation of the business license.
Revocation of Certificates of Occupancy
In addition to license suspension and potential revocation, conduct and/or failure to pay amounts owed to DOB, within 20 days of the Final Order, will result in the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy issued for the business.
If you are a Title or Settlement Agent seeking payment information for a property to be sold, please email the request to [email protected]. Include the property address and square and lot. If you are the purchaser of property at a tax sale and wish to request a DOB lien be released, please email the request to [email protected]. Include the property address, square and lot, and copy of the tax sale deed. Liens will only be released when the deed is issued.
Liens placed prior to the deed date of a property sold at the Discount Tax Sale may be released. Liens placed after, remain due and can be paid online by using the online payment portal. Liens placed prior or after the deed date of a property sold at the Traditional Tax Sale will remain due unless the lien was certified to the Office of Tax and Revenue and so collected as part of the tax sale.
Lien and/or Fine Relief: Economic Hardship
DOB will accept requests for relief, in writing and for non-commercial property and from non-developer/non-commercial property owners only. Evidence of financial hardship (low/loss income) is required to include copies of the last three years of federal income tax information. Requests can be submitted to [email protected].
Pay Fines and Special Tax Assessments
Payments may be made using debit or credit cards, or electronic check (eCheck) using our online payment portal.
Request a Refund for Fines and Special Assessments
Initiate a financial review of funds paid to DOB to be considered for a refund from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). Refund requests are considered in cases of excess payment and/or duplicate payment.
DC Law 2-52, provides that this assessment be paid in full, with interest from the date levied. For each month or portion thereof that an assessment remains unpaid interest is accrued at 1.5%. Interest begins 30 calendar days after the assessment is levied.
Annual Increases in Fine Amounts
As required by the Budget Support Act, an annual increase in all DOB fines amounts will be implemented according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Thus, each year starting January 1st, every fine will increase. Green Building Code and Alternative Compliance Path Infractions (§16 DCMR 3314) are not included in this fine increase.
Additional fine information is available in the DC Municipal Regulations, Title: 16 Consumer, Commercial Practice, and Civil Infractions.
Establishment of Installment Payment Plans
DOB offers customers the option of entering into an installment payment plan to pay fines and special tax assessments. Through such an agreement, the accumulation of interest is stayed while the total due is paid over a maximum of six months. To request to enter into an installment payment plan, please email [email protected].
Update for Rental Housing Providers
DOB issues electronic notifications for housing code violations, therefore, all housing providers who operate one-, two- and multi-family rental properties in the District must update their contact information to include a valid email address.
Submit Proof of Abatement
If you are a property owner or manager who has corrected or abated violations, please submit proof of abatement.