Code of the District of Columbia

§ 6–903. Condemnation procedure; occupancy of condemned buildings.

(a)(1) Whenever the Building Code Official, as defined in § 6-1401(1), finds that any building or a part of any building ("building") is in such habitable or sanitary condition as to endanger the health or lives of the occupants or persons living in the vicinity, the Building Code Official is authorized to refer the building to the Board for the Condemnation of Insanitary Buildings ("Board"). Referral to the Board shall be in addition to, and shall not preclude the Building Code Official from pursuing, any other remedies, penalties, or corrective actions authorized by District law or regulation.

(2) A referral made pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall specify the basis for the Building Code Official’s determination that the building is in a condition to endanger the health or lives of the occupants or persons living in the vicinity.

(b) Upon referral of a building by the Building Code Official, the Board shall serve the owner of the building with a show-cause notice requiring him to show cause within a specified time, which shall not be less than 5 days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, after the date of service of the notice, as to why the building should not be condemned.

(c)(1) If within the time period specified in the show-cause notice, the owner fails to show sufficient cause, in the opinion of the Board, to prevent condemnation, the Board shall issue an order condemning the building and ordering, in accordance with subsection (d) of this section, that the building be put into a habitable and sanitary condition or be demolished and removed within the time specified in the order ("condemnation order").

(2) The Board shall have the condemnation order served on the owner of the building and a copy affixed to the condemned building.

(3) After a copy of a condemnation order has been affixed to a building, no person shall occupy the building.

(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Board shall give an owner at least 30 days after service of the condemnation order to put the building in habitable and sanitary condition.

(2) If the Board finds that the condition of the building is such as to cause immediate danger to the health or lives of the occupants or of persons living in the vicinity, the Board may specify a shorter time period than set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection.


(May 1, 1906, 34 Stat. 157, ch. 2073, § 3; Aug. 28, 1954, 68 Stat. 885, ch. 1032; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-281, § 103(c), 48 DCR 1888; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-213, § 13, 49 DCR 8140; Dec. 7, 2004, D.C. Law 15-205, § 2072(b), 51 DCR 8441; May 18, 2016, D.C. Law 21-118, § 4(b), 63 DCR 4645.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-703.

1973 Ed., § 5-618.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-916, § 6-919, and § 8-411.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-281 substituted “5 days” for “ten days”, substituted “60 days” for “not less than six months”, substituted “habitable or sanitary condition” for “sanitary condition”, and substituted “uninhabitable or insanitary condition” for “insanitary condition”.

D.C. Law 14-213 validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 15-205 substituted “30 days” for “60 days”.

Cross References

Penalties for violation, see § 6-916.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2072(b) 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 § 2072(b) of Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-594, October 26, 2004, 51 DCR 11725).