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Code Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What laws and regulations does code enforcement address?

A. Code Enforcement addresses the following laws and regulations:

  • Baltimore County Zoning Regulations
  • Baltimore County Code
  • Baltimore County Building Code
  • International Residential Code
  • Life Safety Code

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Q. How does one lodge a complaint with code enforcement about rats and other concerns?

A. We offer a number of ways to file a code complaint:

  • Online: Complete the Code Enforcement Complaint Form
  • Email:
  • Phone: Call 410-887-3351 or 410-887-8099
  • Mail:
    Lionel van Dommelen, Chief
    Code Inspection
    County Office Building, Room 213
    111 West Chesapeake Avenue
    Towson, Maryland 21204
  • In Person:
    County Office Building, Room 213
    111 West Chesapeake Avenue
    Towson, Maryland 21204

You may also contact an elected official's office or your community association.

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Q. What are typical residential zoning violations?

A. Typical residential zoning violations include:

  • storing unlicensed motor vehicles
  • storing inoperative motor vehicles
  • open dump conditions
  • junk yard conditions
  • service garage (automotive repair) activities
  • commercial vehicle parking
  • kennel operations
  • use of property to store contractor's equipment
  • rooming house operations
  • recreational vehicle parking
  • illegal accessory structures

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Q. What are the most common commercial zoning violations?

A. The most common commercial zoning violations are:

  •  parking lot illumination
  •  junk yard conditions
  •  open dump conditions
  •  inoperative motor vehicle storage
  •  flashing signs
  •  non-durable/dustless paving surface

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Q. Are there laws that provide protection to the renter?

A. The livability code provides protection to the renter and covers:

  • rodent/insect control
  • defective roofs, windows, frames, stairs, porches, and handrails
  • defective exterior paint, walls, or surfaces
  • high grass/weeds
  • no trash/garbage containers
  • defective interior surfaces, (examples: ceilings, walls, floors, etc.)
  • plumbing facilities, (examples: bathtub or shower, kitchen sink, water closet, and lavatory)

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Q. What conditions must exist on owner occupied property before code enforcement will cite the property owners for livability code violations?

A. Code Enforcement cites property owners for livability code violations, such as:

  •  unsanitary or unsafe conditions
  •  rubbish/garbage not stored in trash receptacles
  •  unsound structural exterior
  •  defective roof, steps, chimney, windows, doors, and fences

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Q. What are the penalties facing the general public for failure to comply with the law and do violators go to court?

A. A $200 a day fine per violation. Initially, the defendant/violator is scheduled for a hearing before a county hearing officer; however, failure to correct the violation(s) could result in the manner proceeding to district/circuit court.

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Q. Must attorneys be hired to defend the violator and/or represent the complainant at a hearing? How long does it take to schedule a hearing date?

A. No, but an attorney could explain the charges on the citation, represent the defendant/ complainant at the hearing, and assist in obtaining a fair penalty if found guilty of the law. Hearings can be scheduled immediately at the site of the violation by the inspector if compliance with the original correction notice has not been obtained.

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Q. Who should I call about high grass or weeds?

A. Contact Code Enforcement at 410-887-3352 or 410-887-8099.

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Q. Who should I call about a failure to remove snow or ice from a sidewalk?

A. Contact Code Enforcement at 410-887-3351. Note, a person or public institution has 24 hours after the last snowfall to remove the snow or ice from the sidewalk.

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Q. Does the county ever hire someone to correct a violation(s) if the violator(s) fails to take care of the problem(s)?

A. In some instances, Baltimore County will hire a private contractor to make repairs and then place a lien on the property to recover the costs.

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Revised May 9, 2016        

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