Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3131.01. Mayor may correct conditions violative of law; assessment of cost; lien on property; fund to pay costs; summary corrective action of life-or-health threatening condition.

(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, whenever the owner of any real property in the District of Columbia shall fail or refuse, after the service of reasonable notice in the manner provided in § 42-3131.03, to correct any condition which exists on or has arisen from such property in violation of law or of any regulation made by authority of law, with the correction of which condition said owner is by law or by said regulation chargeable, or to show cause, sufficient in the judgment of the Mayor of said District, why he should not be required to correct such condition, then, and in that instance, the Mayor of the District of Columbia is authorized to: Cause such condition to be corrected; assess the fair market value of the correction of the condition or the actual cost of the correction, whichever is higher, and all expenses incident thereto (including the cost of publication, if any, herein provided for) as a tax against the property on which such condition existed or from which such condition arose, as the case may be; and carry such tax on the regular tax rolls of the District, and collect such tax in the same manner as general taxes in said District are collected; provided, that the correction of any condition aforesaid by the Mayor of said District under authority of this section shall not relieve the owner of the property on which such condition existed, or from which such condition arose, from criminal prosecution and punishment for having caused or allowed such unlawful condition to arise or for having failed or refused to correct the same.

(1A) The Mayor may request the Office of Administrative Hearings to issue, and the Office of Administrative Hearings may issue, a final order converting a special assessment lien to an administrative judgment. The Mayor may then cause the final order to be entered as a judgment against the owner in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Mayor may enforce the judgment in the same manner as any other civil judgment may be enforced under District law.

(2) Whenever the owner of any vacant building, as defined in § 42-3131.05(5), shall fail to enclose the doors, windows, areaways, or other openings of the property, the Mayor may immediately enclose the property to meet the standard described in § 42-3131.12. Subsequent to the enclosure, the Mayor shall give the owner notice as prescribed in § 42-3131.03.

(3) Summary correction of certain violations without prior notice to the owner is authorized pursuant to subsection (c)(1) of this section.

(b)(1)(A) There is established in the District of Columbia, and accounted for within the General Fund, a separate revenue source allocable to provide authorization for the purpose of paying the costs of correction of any condition, and all expenses incident thereto, that the Mayor may order or cause pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and for the purposes of demolishing or enclosing a structure under subchapter II of Chapter 31C of this title. Any unexpended balance at the end of the year shall be reserved as a restricted fund balance and used to provide authorization to expend for subsequent years subject to the direction of the Mayor.

(B) There is established within the fund established by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph an account in which fees and penalties collected under § 6-916(b), shall be deposited, to be expended for the purposes set forth in § 6-916(b).

(2) There shall be deposited to the credit of the fund such amounts as may be appropriated for the fund or for the purposes of the fund; grants, donations, or restitution from any source to the fund or to the District of Columbia for the purposes of the fund; interest earned from the deposit or investment of monies of the fund; if an accounting is made in accordance with, and subject to, § 47-1340(f), amounts assessed and collected as a tax against real property under subsection (a) of this section including any interest and any penalties thereon, or otherwise received to recoup any amounts, incidental expenses or costs incurred, obligated or expended for the purposes of the fund and funds collected pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 31C of this title; all fees and penalties collected under § 6-916(b) (to be deposited in the account established under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection) recoveries from enforcement action brought by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the District of Columbia or District of Columbia agencies for the abatement of violations of Chapters 1 through 16 of Title 14 of the District of Columbia Code of Municipal Regulations, excluding funds obtained through administrative proceedings; and all other receipts of whatever nature derived from the operation of the fund.

(2A) Not Funded.

(3) The Mayor shall include in the budget estimates of the District of Columbia for each fiscal year, and there are authorized to be appropriated annually, such amounts out of the revenues of the District of Columbia as may be necessary for the capitalization of the fund.

(4) Not later than 6 months after the end of each fiscal year, the Mayor shall submit to the Council a report of the financial condition of the fund, and any other special purpose revenue funds or capital project funds used for nuisance abatement activities, and the results of the operations and collections for the fiscal year. The report shall include an itemized accounting of all unrecovered taxes and penalties, the names of delinquent property owners, the nature of corrected building violations, and a detailed accounting of each expenditure. All funding sources shall be separately listed.

(c)(1)(A) The Mayor may order the summary correction of housing regulation violations or violations of the Construction Codes where there is imminent danger, as determined by the Mayor.

(B) Except in the case of a vacant building, the Mayor shall promptly notify the owner or authorized agent that the correction is ordered within a specified time period; provided, that the Mayor is authorized to take emergency action, including putting in temporary safeguards, without prior notification when the Mayor determines there is imminent danger due to an unsafe condition and immediate emergency action is necessary to alleviate the danger.

(C) Any person ordered to take emergency measures or actions shall immediately comply with any notice or order. Where notice is provided under this section, if at the time of the notice, the owner is engaged in a good-faith effort to make the necessary correction, the Mayor shall not commence corrective action unless and until the owner interrupts or ceases the corrective effort or the Mayor determines that emergency repairs or temporary safeguards are required.

(D)(i) The owner or authorized agent shall be notified by personal service or by registered mail to the last known address and by conspicuous posting on the property. If the owner or address is unknown, or cannot be located, notice shall be provided by conspicuous posting on the property.

(ii) The Mayor may assess all reasonable costs of correcting the condition and all expenses incident to the corrective action as a tax against the property.

(iii) A tax placed against a property pursuant to this subsection shall be carried on the regular tax rolls and collected in the same manner as real estate taxes are collected.

(iv) The Mayor shall provide an opportunity for review of the summary corrective action without prejudice to the Mayor's authority to take and complete that action.

(E) Monies in the fund established by subsection (b)(1) of this section shall be available to cover the costs of the summary corrections authorized by this subsection.

(F) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term:

(i) "Good faith effort" means one that is likely to cause the correction of the condition at least as soon as it could be corrected by the Mayor.

(ii)(I) "Imminent danger" means:

(aa) There is an immediate danger of the failure or collapse of a building or other structure that endangers life;

(bb) When any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure;

(cc) When there is actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure because of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors, the presence of toxic fumes, gases, or materials; or

(dd) When the health or safety of occupants of the premises or those in the proximity of the premises is immediately endangered by an insanitary condition or the operation of defective or dangerous equipment.

(II) The term "imminent danger" may also include:

(aa) A vacant building, as defined in § 42-3131.05(5);

(bb) The interruption of electrical, heat, gas, water, or other essential services, when the interruption results from other than natural causes; or

(cc) The presence of graffiti.

(1A) The Mayor may request the Office of Administrative Hearings to issue, and the Office of Administrative Hearings may issue, a final order converting a special assessment lien to an administrative judgment. The Mayor may then cause the final order to be entered as a judgment against the owner in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Mayor may enforce the judgment in the same manner as any other civil judgment may be enforced under District law.

(2) For the purposes of this subsection, the presence of graffiti shall be deemed to be a housing regulation violation.

(3) In the case of graffiti which does not constitute a life-or-health threatening condition, but which constitutes a nuisance, the Mayor may order the removal of the graffiti within a specified time period and, subject to 7 days’ notice to the owner or an authorized agent in the manner provided under paragraph (1) of this subsection and an opportunity for review of the order, the Mayor may remove the graffiti if the owner does not comply.

(d) The Mayor may charge any property owner whose property is the subject of corrective action, as provided in subsection (c) of this section, or any property owner who receives a notice to correct wrongful conditions pursuant to § 6-804(c) a fee to cover the administrative costs incurred by the District of Columbia in its efforts to provide that the violation be corrected. The Mayor may assess this fee as a tax against the property, may carry this tax on the regular tax rolls, and may collect this tax in the same manner as real estate taxes are collected.

(e) The Mayor may defer or forgive, in whole or in part, any cost or fee assessed pursuant to §§ 42-3131.01 to 42-3131.03 with respect to any qualified real property approved pursuant to § 6-1503.


(Apr. 14, 1906, 34 Stat. 114, ch. 1626, § 1; Jan. 5, 1980, D.C. Law 3-45, § 2, 26 DCR 2305; June 14, 1980, D.C. Law 3-70, § 7(m), 27 DCR 1776; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-205, § 2, 30 DCR 188; Oct. 20, 1988, D.C. Law 7-177, § 8, 35 DCR 6158; Feb. 27, 1998, D.C. Law 12-52, § 2, 44 DCR 6226; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-201, § 2, 45 DCR 8410; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 508(b), 48 DCR 334; Apr. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-114, § 102, 49 DCR 1468; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-213, § 11, 49 DCR 8140; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 42, 51 DCR 881; Dec. 7, 2004, D.C. Law 15-205, § 2073, 51 DCR 8441; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-209, § 2, 53 DCR 9080; Mar. 8, 2007, D.C. Law 16-241, § 2, 54 DCR 599; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, § 2020, 55 DCR 7598; Mar. 21, 2009, D.C. Law 17-319, § 2(a), 56 DCR 214; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, §§ 155, 244(b), 56 DCR 1117; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-111,§ 2141, 57 DCR 181; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 2062, 57 DCR 6242; May 18, 2016, D.C. Law 21-118, § 6, 63 DCR 4645; Apr. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 22-287, § 4(a), 66 DCR 1650.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 6-711.01.

1981 Ed., § 5-513.

1973 Ed., § 5-313.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-711.01, § 6-916, § 42-3131.02, § 42-3131.14, § 42-3173.11, § 42-3504.01, and § 47-1205.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305, in subsec. (b)(2), substituted “if an accounting is made in accordance with, and subject to § 47-1340(f), amounts assessed and collected as a tax against real property under subsection (a) of this section” for “amounts assessed and collected as a tax against real property pursuant to subsection (a) of this section”.

D.C. Law 14-114, in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “subsection (a) of this section and for the purposes of demolishing or enclosing a structure under subchapter II of Chapter 31C of this title” for “subsection (a) of this section”; and, in subsec. (b)(2), substituted “expended for the purposes of the fund and funds collected pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 31C of this title” for “expended for the purposes of the fund”.

D.C. Law 14-213, in subsecs. (b)(1) and (b)(2), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 15-105, in subsec. (b)(2), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 15-205, in par. (1) of subsec. (b), designated the existing text as subparagraph (A), and added subpar. (B); and, in par. (2) of subsec. (b), substituted “; all fees and penalties collected under § 6-916(b) (to be deposited in the account established under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection); and all other receipts” for “; and all other receipts”.

D.C. Law 16-209, in subsec. (c), designated existing text as par. (1); in newly designated par. (1), inserted “ The condition may also include the presence of graffiti.”; and added pars. (2) and (3).

D.C. Law 16-241 designated the existing text of subsec. (a) as subsec. (a)(1); in subsec. (a)(1), inserted “Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, whenever”; added subsec. (a)(2); and, in subsec. (c)(1), inserted “a vacant building, as defined in § 42-3131.05(5), or” and “Except in the case of a vacant building,”.

D.C. Law 17-219 rewrote subsec. (b)(4), which had read as follows: “(4) Not later than 6 months after the end of each fiscal year, the Mayor shall submit to the Council of the District of Columbia a report of the financial condition of the fund and the results of the operations and collections for such fiscal year. Said report should include, but not be limited to, the itemized amounts of unrecovered taxes and penalties, the names of delinquent property owners, and the nature of corrected building violations.”

D.C. Law 17-319, in subsec. (c)(1), substituted “housing regulation violations or violations of the construction codes” for “housing regulation violations”.

D.C. Law 17-353 validated previously made technical corrections in subsecs. (b)(4) and (c).

D.C. Law 18-111, in subsec. (b)(2), substituted “grants, donations, or restitution from any source” for “grants from any source” and substituted “recoveries from enforcement action brought by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the District of Columbia or District of Columbia agencies for the abatement of violations of Chapters 1 through 16 of Title 14 of the District of Columbia Code of Municipal Regulations, excluding funds obtained through administrative proceedings; and all other receipts” for “; and all other receipts”.

D.C. Law 18-223 added subsecs. (a)(1A) and (c)(1A).

Cross References

Ownership by nonresidents, vacant property, maintenance by resident agent, see § 42-903.

Special assessments, removal of nuisances and payment, see § 47-1205.

Applicability

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-287: § 8 of D.C. Law 22-287 provided that the change made to this section by § 4(a) of D.C. Law 22-287 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Nuisance Repairs Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-101, July 2, 1997, 44 DCR 4195), § 2 of the Nuisance Repairs Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-159, October 16, 1997, 44 DCR 6053), and § 2 of the Nuisance Repairs Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-241, January 13, 1998, 45 DCR 636).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 8(b) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-22, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2706).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2073 of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-486, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8236).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2073 of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-594, October 26, 2004, 51 DCR 11725).

For temporary (90 day) amendment, see § 2(a) of Abatement of Nuisance Properties and Tenant Receivership Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-420, July 8, 2008, 55 DCR 7703).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Abatement of Nuisance Properties and Tenant Receivership Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-563, October 27, 2008, 55 DCR 12019).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2141 of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Second Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-207, October 15, 2009, 56 DCR 8234).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2141 of Fiscal Year Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-260, January 4, 2010, 57 DCR 345).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2062 of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 8(b) of the Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-8, June 13, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 5916).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Abatement of Nuisance Properties and Tenant Receivership Temporary amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Law 17-237, October 21, 2008, law notification 55 DCR 11700).

Short Title

Short title: Section 2019 of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that subtitle H of title II of the act may be cited as the “Nuisance Properties Abatement Implementation Amendment Act of 2008”.

Short title: Section 2140 of D.C. Law 18-111 provided that subtitle O of title II of the act may be cited as the “Abatement Property Nuisance Fund Amendment Act of 2009”.

Short title: Section 2061 of D.C. Law 18-223 provided that subtitle F of title II of the act may be cited as the “Administrative Judgments of Nuisance Property Amendment Act of 2010”.

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 13 of D.C. Law 7-177 provided that the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.