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Department of Buildings

In observance of the Emancipation Day holiday, DOB will be closed on Tuesday, April 16, 2024; no construction will be allowed on this day without an after-hours permit. You may report illegal construction by submitting an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form during normal business hours or by calling 311.

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Register a Building As Exempt

If you've received a notice from the DOB Office of Residential Inspections concerning a vacant or blighted designation, use the following to determine whether your building qualifies for a vacant property exemption.

To be exempt, property owners and their properties must meet ONE 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 for less than 1 year for residential properties, or less than 2 years for commercial properties.
  • The building is subject of a probate proceeding or the title is the subject of litigation.
  • A 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.
  • The owner of the property is requesting economic hardship due to extraordinary circumstances.

To apply for an exemption online:

  • Your first step in the application process is to ensure you do not have any debt owed to DOB. To check this, please visit the Enforcement section of our DOB Public Dashboard. Search by address and name of the applicant and property owner. If you have debt indicated, please email us at [email protected] with the debt information to receive payoff information. If your search results seem to indicate that you do not have debt owed to us, please still email us to confirm.
  • Once the debt has been paid, or you receive confirmation of no debt owed o DOB, register your building as exempt by completing the Vacant Property Response Form. You can submit your form by emailing [email protected] or register your property online through our Vacant Buildings web page.
  • Sign the certification in Step 2 of the form.
  • Check the box next to the exemption you claim in Step 3 of the form.
  • Provide the required supporting documents listed next to the checked exemption.

It is essential 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 Administration.

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 Administration.

Blight Property
DOB determines that a building is blighted if it is unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise determined to threaten the health, safety, or general welfare of the community. Learn more on Register a Blight Property.

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