The Code Enforcement Division is primarily responsible for ensuring that properties within Takoma Park are maintained in a safe and sanitary manner in accordance with the Property Maintenance Code. These standards apply to all existing residential, commercial, institutional and accessory structures and premises as well as vacant land. These code provisions constitute minimum standards.
An inspection can be triggered by a complaint, a referral from another agency, or included as part of an overall strategy to improve conditions in a specific neighborhood or business district. Inspections are also conducted during the City’s rental housing licensing process. The City’s Code Enforcement staff conducts general property maintenance code inspections. Montgomery County’s Code Enforcement Division conducts rental housing inspections.
When the inspector has identified minor property maintenance code violations, a Courtesy Notice will be issued. The Courtesy Notice, a simple door hanger that is placed on the front entrance to the building, identifies the code violation(s) that have been observed by the inspector and encourages the owner to contact the inspector if they have any questions. The inspector will return to the site within five to 10 business days to reinspect. If the violation(s) have been corrected, the case is closed. If one or more items remain unresolved, a Notice of Violation is issued.
Notice of Violation
If violations are observed when the property is reinspected or when the code violation is more serious, the inspector prepares a Notice of Violation and the owner is given a specific deadline for the correction of the violation(s). Once the deadline has passed, the property will be reinspected. If the owner has made the required repairs, the case is closed. If work to correct the violation is underway or the weather has prevented the owner from fully addressing the violation, the owner may request additional time to correct the outstanding violation(s). Requests for extensions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If the owner has not been responsive and the violations remain, the inspector will issue a municipal infraction citation for each code violation.
Municipal Infraction Citations
Municipal citation infractions carry fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 per violation depending on the severity of the violation. In addition to the fine, the City will request an order from the Court requiring that the violation(s) be corrected (an Abatement Order). If the owner fails to correct the problem within the timeframe set by the Judge, the City may bring the owner back to Court for contempt charges. The Abatement Order also allows the City or its agent to enter the property, make the required repairs and charge the owner for the cost of correcting the code violation. If the owner fails to pay for the repairs, the City places a lien against the property and initiates legal actions to collect this lien.