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Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

The District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) regulates construction and business activity in the District of Columbia.

Notices of Infraction and Violation:  DCRA issues Notices of Infraction for violations of statutes and regulations covering: Building Permits, Certificates of Occupancy, Stop Work Orders, Housing Codes, Construction Codes, Vacant Property Registration, Graffiti, Noise Control, Business Registration, Weights and Measures, Zoning and Occupation and Professional Licensing.  Notices of Infraction charge a violation and seek a fine while Notices of Violation may seek abatement only.  DCRA then files these Notices with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Persons receiving such Notices file their responses and payments with the Office of Administrative Hearings, which resolves any challenges to the Notices.  The instructions on the Notices explain that you can “admit” (take responsibility and pay the fine), “admit with explanation” (take responsibility but offer an explanation that the administrative law judge might take into account in deciding a fine) or “deny” (take no responsibility).  If you “admit with explanation,” DCRA will be given a chance to respond to your explanation and then the administrative law judge will decide the case based on the papers submitted.  If you “deny,” an in-person hearing is scheduled at which DCRA and you can present evidence.

Close attention should be paid to the instructions on the Notices of Violation and Notices of Infraction.  There are deadlines for responding to the notices.  There is a penalty for responding after the deadline.  There is also a penalty if you “deny,” a hearing is scheduled, and you fail to appear for the hearing.

Stop Work Orders: If DCRA issues a Stop Work Order, a property owner or her agent may appeal the Order to the Chief Building Official at DCRA within 15 days.  If the appeal is denied or not acted on within 10 business days, you may appeal the Order to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  (Violations of the Zoning Regulations must be appealed to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.)

Denial, Suspension or Revocation of Licenses:  If DCRA denies, suspends or revokes a license, you may appeal that action to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Such licenses include basic business licenses, certificates of occupancy and licenses to practice certain professions (e.g., cosmetology, boiler operators, etc.).

Sample Decisions

Sample Decisions

Administrative law judges issue a written decision for every case that is contested. The decisions below are examples of some issues raised in Office of Administrative Hearings’ cases involving this agency. You can review these decisions to get a sense of how prior cases were decided.

Please note that the facts of each case are different. These cases should be used for informational purposes only.

Agency LawAgency Law

Administrative law judges base their decisions upon many sources of law, chief among them the District of Columbia laws (DC Official Code) and the District of Columbia regulations (DCMR). Depending on the type of case, federal law (US Code) and federal regulations (CFR) may also be relevant. Cases decided on the issues in other courts, especially the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, are relevant.

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