Last Updated: 2010-05-05

The Mission of the Code Enforcement Division is to protect all citizens and visitor's health and safety and to enrich and assist in the support of vibrant, economically strong neighborhoods and communities through education and enforcement of property maintenance regulations.

Most property owners take pride in their properties and routinely maintain them to ensure their safety as well as their neighbors'. Exterior maintenance maintains a building in compliance with the Virginia Maintenance Code as well as helping to keep the property aesthetically pleasing.

Sometimes, however, the city must take steps to encourage property owners to maintain their properties. Code Enforcement is one tool the City of Richmond uses to accomplish this goal.

The division also issues Demolition Permits and Certificate of Occupancy permits for residential uses.

The Code Enforcement Process

The process begins with an inspection of the property including all buildings, garages and sheds. An inspection also includes yards, sidewalks and alleys.

Owners whose properties are in violation will receive notices of violation specific to the type of violation found. The notice will allow a specified period of time to correct the violations; in some cases repairs may require a permit. If it is a rental property the tenant may also receive a notice and be held responsible for the corrective actions. Each notice contains the contact information for the code enforcement inspector who cited the deficiencies. If you receive a notice you should contact the inspector to review the violations cited and discuss any additional information that may be beneficial to both parties.

When violations are not corrected within the allowed time, the responsible party may be summoned to court. Corrective actions may be performed by the City and a tax lien placed on the property.

Property Maintenance Codes

Some of the more common items that must be maintained are as follows.

  • Remove any accumulated trash or refuse from your yard, sidewalk area and alley.
  • Maintain the area from your yard to the center of the alley.
  • Cut grass and weeds to less than 12 inches in height.
  • Trim any vegetation that protrudes into the alley, sidewalk or public right-of-way.
  • Ensure that all vehicles on your property are in operating condition and display current license plates or a current state inspection sticker unless the vehicle is fully enclosed in a garage.
  • Ensure that all structures including houses, garages, sheds, walls and fences are structurally sound and in good repair.
  • Secure vacant buildings against unauthorized entry.

To report a property maintenance violation or to make a request, please use the Citizens' Request System.

Stairways, porches, decks, balconies, handrails, and guard rails must be properly anchored and able to safely support a normal weight load. Vacant buildings must be secured against entry pending demolition or repair.

For more detailed information you may view the the following documents.

Available Financial Assistance

If you are conducting a major rehabilitation to an older property, you may be eligible for Richmond's Tax Abatement Program for Rehabilitation of Real Estate that may qualify you for tax abatement for up to ten years. Other programs are available that may assist you depending on your circumstances; those programs are listed in our links.

Richmond Rehabilitation of Real Estate Tax Program: Assessor's Office

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