Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3131.02. Inspection of buildings for violative conditions; interference with inspection.

(a) For the purpose of carrying into effect § 42-3131.01, the Mayor of the District of Columbia and all other persons, including contractors and employees of contractors acting under his authority or by his direction, are authorized to enter upon and into any lands and tenements in said District, during all reasonable hours, to inspect the same and to do whatever may be necessary to correct, in a good and workmanlike manner, any condition that exists on or has arisen from such lands or tenements in violation of law or of any regulation made by authority of law, with the correction of which condition the owner of said lands or tenements is by law or such regulation chargeable. Any person who shall hinder, interfere with, or prevent any inspection or work authorized by this subchapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

(b)(1) The Mayor may apply to a judge of the District of Columbia for an administrative search warrant to enter any premises to conduct any inspection required or authorized by law to determine compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(2) The application for an administrative search warrant shall be in writing and sworn to by the applicant and shall particularly describe the place, structure, or premises to be inspected and the nature, scope, and purpose of the inspection to be performed by the applicant.

(3) Before filing an application for an administrative search warrant with a court, the Mayor shall obtain approval by the Office of the Attorney General as to its legality in both form and substance under the standards and criteria of this section and a statement to this effect shall be included as part of the application.

(4) A judge of a court referred to in this section may issue the warrant on finding that:

(A)(i) The applicant has sought access to the property for the purpose of making an inspection; and

(ii)(I) After requesting, at a reasonable time, the owner, tenant, or other individual in charge of the property to allow access, has been denied access to the property; or

(II) After making a reasonable effort, the applicant has been unable to locate any of these individuals;

(B) The requirements of paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection are satisfied;

(C) The Mayor is authorized by law to make an inspection of the property for which the warrant is sought; and

(D) Probable cause for the issuance of the warrant has been demonstrated by the applicant by specific evidence of an existing violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted under this chapter or by showing that:

(i) A reasonable administrative inspection program exists regarding the condition of the property; and

(ii) The proposed inspection comes within the program.

(5) An administrative search warrant issued under this section shall specify the place, structure, premise, vehicle, or records to be inspected. The inspection conducted shall not exceed the limits specified in the warrant.

(6) An administrative search warrant issued under this section authorizes the applicant and other officials or employees of the District to enter specified property to perform the inspection, sampling, and other functions authorized by law to determine compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(7) An administrative search warrant issued under this section shall be executed and returned to the judge by whom it was issued within:

(A) The time specified in the warrant, not to exceed 30 days; or

(B) If no time period is specified in the warrant, 15 days from the date of its issuance.


(Apr. 14, 1906, 34 Stat. 115, ch. 1626, § 2; Apr. 4, 2006, D.C. Law 16-81, § 4, 53 DCR 1050.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 6-711.02.

1981 Ed., § 5-514.

1973 Ed., § 5-314.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-711.02.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-81 designated the existing text of the section as subsec. (a); and added subsec. (b).

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.