Arlington Safe Structures Initiative

The Arlington County Permit Office is CLOSED for in-person customer service. Many services are available online. Learn more.

The Arlington Safe Structures Initiative was established to guide performance and compliance expectations for existing structures subject to the Building Code. Emphasis is placed on proactive community survey, systematic inspections and concentrated agency efforts at problem properties to assure complete and continued compliance.

Complaints

Complainants who identify conditions at private properties that they believe are substandard are encouraged to contact the Code Enforcement office to request an investigation by email (Category: Investigation Request) or by phone: 703-228-3232. Investigations may be expedited if the conditions pose a significant life safety hazard.

Periodic Inspections

Arlington has eight inspection districts; each district is staffed by an enforcement inspector responsible for conducting proactive inspections of conditions within their district. Inspectors conduct limited public area surveys of Arlington’s multi-family communities to assure compliance with property-related codes and ordinances. Comprehensive code inspections are performed at older multi-family properties as a protection to our residents and housing portfolio. Commercial entertainment district inspections are performed as part of a county-state task force.

Community Education and Outreach

We strive to educate our residents and businesses regarding code standards and expectations. We respond to many inquiries and initiate up to 5,000 new investigations each year. The majority of these investigations result from our proactive surveys and inspection programs. Collectively, enforcement inspectors attend more than 30 community meetings each year; addressing corporate concerns, advising residents about our programs and processes, and community successes.

Incidental Inspections

It’s often during scheduled inspections that inspectors discover other conditions dangerous to occupants and the community overall. Inspectors address properties throughout Arlington with hoarding type conditions, 30% of which are considered dangerous. Inspectors also address unsafe conditions created by the illegal conversion of structures into unapproved uses, construction without permit approvals and overcrowding of dwelling units based on building design standards, exclusive of occupant relation. Our expectation for equitable enforcement includes a protocol to address substandard conditions within plain view of neighboring properties that are in violation. This 10+ year-old protocol reduced the number of citizen-initiated complaints and violator complaints related to selective enforcement.