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.).
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.
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. M. Smith, April 11, 2012 (finding Respondent liable for Notice of Infraction for operating a barber shop without a basic business license in violation of D.C. Official Code § 47-2851.03)
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. B. Heard-Smith, January 20, 2012 (on a plea of Admit with Explanation, finding Respondent liable and reducing fines for violations of 14 DCMR 902.1, 14 DCMR 904.4, and 14 DCMR 600.2)
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. V H I Inc. Enterprises, February 16, 2012 (dismissing Notices of Infraction for alleged violations of 20 DCMR 2806.2, performing trash removal within 300 feet of a residence at night)
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. Wiggins, April 11, 2012 (dismissing Notices of Infraction for alleged violations of D.C. Official Code § 47-2851.02 (failing to have a business license) and of 11 DCMR 3203 (failing to have a certificate of occupancy))
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. Escobar, February 17, 2006 (dismissing Notice of Infraction for alleged violation of D.C. Official Code § 47-2834 (vending without a license on public property))
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. Nwankwo, September 23, 2011 ( finding Respondent liable for Notices of Infraction for failing to comply with a stop work order (12A DCMR 114.1), for performing electrical, plumbing, demolition and renovation work without the requisite permits (12A DCMR 105.1), and for operating a business without a license (D.C. Official Code § 47-2851.02(a)(1))
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. Mario’s Towing & Storage Unlimited, Inc., June 30, 2011 ( finding Respondent liable for Notice of Infraction for failing to obtain certificates of occupancy for major auto repair business and storage of vehicles (11 DCMR 3203))
- Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs v. Njoku, April 11, 2011 (finding Respondent liable for Notice of Infraction for failing to register property as vacant (D.C. Official Code § 42-3131.06(a))
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.
- DCRA—Appeal of Notices of Violation(s) Issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
- DCRA—Appeal of Stop Work Order Issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
- General—Blank Submission Form
- General—Certificate of Service
- General—Customer Survey Form
- General—Electronic Filing Cover Sheet
- General—Subpoena Form (sample only)
- General—Notice of Appearance for Lawyers
- General—Request for a Different Hearing Date
- General—Request to Participate by Telephone
- General—Request for Audio Recording of Hearing