In the past, code enforcement has been primarily reactive, generated by complaints. However, the complaint-driven system, by itself, has not been entirely effective in stemming the tide of code violations in the city. With the creation of this program, the Customer Response Team undertakes proactive efforts identifying code violations and obtaining compliance, along with responding to citizen complaints. Proactive enforcement is taken against properties which contain violation(s) that are visible from the public right of way:
- Accumulation of refuse, trash, junk, and debris;
- Inoperative, abandoned or unlicensed vehicles on private property (driveways, front yards), and parking on unapproved surfaces;
- Listed below are some of the other code violations that the Customer Response Team investigates. Even though there are many more violations that are not listed, these are the chief complaints that we receive. If your type of complaint is not listed, please call us and we will be happy to discuss the matter with you to assist in resolving the situation.
What is a Code Violation?
Our neighborhoods are the environment in which we live and raise our families. Nuisances can devalue, detract and degrade the quality of any neighborhood.
Recognizing the importance of protecting the home environment, the City has adopted codes that govern the use and maintenance of property. While many of the City’s codes deal with private residential property, there are codes that regulate the condition of commercial properties as well.
The Code Enforcement Division enforces regulations related to the following:
- Conditions of an existing structure that constitutes a clear and present danger to the public Building Code violations (building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, etc.), including construction or change of use without the required permits
- Minimal standards for safe, sanitary and habitable housing
- Violations of land use requirements
- Sign violations, including signs in the public right of way, failure to have required permits, illegal inflatable displays, balloons and pennants, advertisement flyers and portable A-Boards
- Dumping of hazardous materials into storm drains
- Encroachments in the public right of way that may require permitting or be hazardous
- Overgrown foliage blocking stop signs, impeding sight of driveways or making corners dangerous
- Zoning or occupancy issues
- Business License and home occupation issues
What is NOT a Code Violation?Your valuable tax dollars are at work, and we want to expend our resources appropriately and efficiently. There are some neighborhood problems that do not fall under our jurisdiction. In general, we can act on behalf of the public at large – we cannot take action on behalf of one citizen against another. Also we cannot enforce a neighborhood homeowners association covenants, codes and or restrictions.
To report violations, the telephone number is (206) 801-2260. If you would like to email in your complaint, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also fax your requests to (206) 801-2785.
In order to investigate your report, we will need the address where the violation is occurring, what the violation is and if it can be seen from the street.
Many people are not exactly sure what to do when they have a complaint regarding a possible violation. What we advise is to first talk with your neighbor or property owner. Politely explain the situation and ask for their cooperation in resolving the problem. If your “good neighbor” effort fails, call us. We are happy to discuss the situation and will explain what type of steps we will take to have any violations corrected. When you call, be prepared to provide the following information:
- The specific type of request, complaint or nuisance.
- Your name, address, and telephone number. This information is especially important if you leave a message and we need to contact you for more information or clarification regarding your complaint.
- Provide the exact location of the problem. We will need the house number and street name. If there is no address, then provide as much information regarding the location. i.e. northwest corner of 3rd Ave NW and NW Richmond Beach Road.
Provide a brief description of the violation or complaint.
- If your complaint is regarding a vehicle; provide the license plate number, make and model, and color of the vehicle. State if the vehicle is on the street or private property.
- If your complaint is regarding garbage, refuse or debris; provide a brief description of the type of debris. Examples are car parts, building materials, old tires, garbage and the location where these items are stored on the property.
- If your complaint is regarding an on-going activity rather than a physical violation, provide us with a description of the activity, when it is occurring and the day and times it occurs.
We will investigate your request and inform you of the status following a site visit of the violation address. Some violations take longer than others to investigate. If the violation is an on-going activity rather than a physical violation, the complaint may be more difficult to verify.