Code Enforcement

Arlington Code Enforcement, a part of the Inspection Services Division (ISD), strives to preserve the quality and value of public and private property by ensuring that maintenance standards are uniformly and equitably enforced and that all properties are maintained and occupied for use in a safe and efficient manner.

Codes We Enforce

Arlington Code Enforcement enforces the codes below and is guided by the Arlington Safe Structures Initiative. Learn more about typical code enforcement violations.

What We Don’t Do

Arlington Code Enforcement does not address parking issues on lawns or public streets, speeding vehicles, fences less than six feet in height, retaining walls less than two feet in height, tenant/landlord relations, playground equipment, animal nuisances including leash requirements and pet waste pick-up, recycling, housing voucher inspections and administration, water or air quality issues, mold inspection and testing, broken parking meters/parking ticket issues, overcrowding based on the number of unrelated persons, outdoor furniture, unwanted circulars, food safety concerns, live entertainment and dance hall permits, zoning use permits, variances or other special exemptions, fire prevention issues or any public or life safety issues subject to address  by the police.

Learn more about these violations and how to address them.

Authority to Conduct Inspections

Arlington code enforcement inspectors are certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia as Building Maintenance Inspectors and certified by the International Code Council as Property Maintenance Inspectors.

If the department receives a complaint that a violation of this code exists that is an immediate and imminent threat to the health or safety of the owner or tenant of a residential dwelling unit, and the owner or tenant of the residential dwelling unit has refused to allow the code official or his agent(s) to have access to the subject dwelling, the code official or his agent(s) may present an inspection warrant granted by the court to enter a dwelling for the purpose of determining whether violations of this code exists.

Property Inspections

Both proactively and in response to your input, Code Enforcement property inspections include, but are not limited to:

  • General exterior: broken windows, peeling paint, defective gutters
  • General interior: peeling paint, defective handrails (stair elements)
  • Light, ventilation and occupancy limitations: defective windows, defective exhaust fans
  • Plumbing facilities and fixture requirements: supply and volume of water, adequacy of fixtures
  • Mechanical and electrical requirements: defective electrical system/defective heating, defective receptacle(s)
  • Fire safety requirements: defective/missing smoke detectors; egress (walking room)
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 violations; in some cases, repairs may require a building permit.

Notices of Violation

Any violation of the the Virginia Maintenance Code, Condition of Private Property or the Noise Control Ordinance requires Code Enforcement to notify the owner of the violation and order that corrective action be taken. See a list of typical concerns reports.

If You Receive a Notice Violation or Order of Correction

If code enforcement inspectors validate the existence of a substandard condition at private property, they will issue a violation notice to the responsible parties to advise of the violation.

Emergency and Corrective Actions

Code Enforcement investigates emergency complaints that present a threat to the health and welfare of the community within 24 hours. If it’s determined that a violation exists resulting in the serious and imminent threat to the life and safety of the occupants of a dwelling, the staff may order the owner to take immediate action to correct the condition.

How to File a Complaint

To make a complaint, please call (703) 228-3232 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, or email us. All complaints will be taken and addressed by one of our administrative staff personnel. You can also file a complaint online by clicking our Investigation Request Form and the request will be sent to our staff in a timely manner. Or you can print a PDF version of the form and return it via email, fax, mail or in person.

You can help in our investigation of your concern by:

  • Reporting to staff the correct address where the problem is located. Having the exact address is very critical and most helpful to inspectors when investigating the complaint.
  • Clearly state the problem as it deals with Code Enforcement. Remember, we cannot see the problem you see while on the phone. Give specific details and problems as it relates to the nature of your call.
  • Our administrative staff will initiate a case and assign it to the district inspector for that area. We will service that case in 3-5 business days.

Sometimes other agencies or departments are responsible for investigating your complaint. See a list of typical Code Enforcement concerns. We will advise you of that department’s phone number and contact name if possible and you can speak directly with that agency.

Appeal Process for COPP and Building Code Violations

For violations citations and notices issued under the condition of private property ordinance (COPP, Arlington County Code, Chapter 10, Article II), learn more.

If you receive notice of a building code violation and you disagree with the premise, you may file an appeal with the Local Board of Building Code Appeals. Download the application for appeal.

Referrals For Assistance Outside of Code Enforcement


Animal Wardens (Complaints) 703-931-9241
Business Licenses 703-228-3060
Citizen and Consumer Affairs 703-228-3260
Dominion Power – Emergency 888-667-3000
Environmental Health (Complaints) 703-228-7400
Fire/EMS Emergency 911
Inspection Services Division (Construction) 703-228-3800
Permit Parking 703-228-7777
Police Non-Emergency 703-558-2222
Police Emergency 911
Refuse Collection 703-228-6570
Tenant-Landlord Commission 703-228-3765
Traffic Signals 703-228-3575
Tree Maintenance and Landscaping 703-228-6527
Washington Gas Light Company 703-750-9500
Water-Sewer Problems 703-228-6555
Zoning Information 703-228-3883

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