Last Updated: 2017-07-31

Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Property Maintenance

Last Updated: 2020-10-26

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COVID-19 UPDATE: July 15, 2020

Update Regarding Permitting and Inspection Services

The Permit Center has transitioned to a fully electronic service model and will no longer be providing in-person processing of permits and payments. As a result of this change our lobby, located in City Hall Room 108, will remain closed to the public except for customers who have made a prescheduled in-office appointment. To schedule an appointment please e-mail the appropriate address below or directly contact the staff member that you are working with. Appointments are intended to be used on a limited basis for processes that require in person interaction that cannot be duplicated by electronic means. Appointments will not be made for application processing or payment services.

To schedule an appointment or for customer service inquiries e-mail:

Permits and Inspections

Permits and Inspections (P&I)

Permitting and Plan Review:

All services are now being processed through one of two online gateways: the City of Richmond’s Online Permitting Portal (OPP) and our OneDrive document processing system. Processing times for some application types may take as long as 2-3 weeks. Applications and plans are being reviewed in the order in which they are received. We appreciate your patience during this time of change. We anticipate a significant improvement in this area over the next 30-60 days.

Mail and Fax Services:

Applications and payments received by mail are still being accepted, however, we are not currently conducting business by fax.

Residential Trade Applications:

The On-Line Permit Portal (OPP) should be used for Residential Trade Permits (Building, Electrical, Gas Piping, Mechanical, Plumbing), Certificates of Zoning Compliance (CZC’s) and Plan of Developments (POD’s), click here.

Permits Requiring Plan Review and Other Services:

Microsoft OneDrive should be used to submit commercial applications and plans electronically. Other services accepted through OneDrive are permit extensions, cancellations, modifications, contractor changes, amendments to the scope of work, responses to plan review comments and post permit revisions. For information on how to register and use Microsoft OneDrive, click here.

Field inspections are continuing for all project types. Inspections within occupied buildings are being conducted virtually or by a third party inspector per our 48-hour third party inspection policy. Please limit the number of contractors or site representatives meeting an inspector on a jobsite to only one. Please remember to practice safe social distancing and to wear personal protective equipment when meeting an inspector.

Virtual Inspections:

We are putting a greater emphasis on virtual inspections across all disciplines. Use this service option to complete an inspection remotely with a City inspector using Facetime or Microsoft Teams. For more information, click here.

Third Party Inspections:

Limited: Customers may use our limited 48-hour third party inspection policy for individual inspections when the building official is unable to perform a scheduled inspection within two working days of a request or an agreed upon date or if authorized for other circumstances in the building official’s written policy. Third party inspections shall be requested, and the inspection reports submitted, in accordance with the City’s official policy. For more information contact and/or visit:

Full: Customers may use our third party program in part or in full to obtain third party inspection and plan review services. Please click here for more information.

Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement (PMCE):
The Property Maintenance lobby will remain closed to the public until further notice, however, services are ongoing. Citizens may continue to report code enforcement issues within their community by using RVA311 or calling the main number at (804) 646-6398. If a physical meeting is needed, it will be scheduled through an appointment and appropriate “social distancing” measures will be followed.


We will continue to monitor and respond to the ongoing status of the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers are asked to please follow the guidelines and precautions recommended by the CDC as outlined in this link:

The City of Richmond Online Permit Portal (OPP)

  • Customers can register, apply for plans, and search permits using the Online Permit Portal link.
  • More information on registering and utilizing the Online Portal can be found on the OPP web page.

The Mission of the Code Enforcement Division is to protect all citizens and visitor's health and safety and to enrich and assist in the support of vibrant, economically strong neighborhoods and communities through education and enforcement of property maintenance regulations.

Most property owners take pride in their properties and routinely maintain them to ensure their safety as well as their neighbors'. Exterior maintenance maintains a building in compliance with the Virginia Maintenance Code as well as helping to keep the property aesthetically pleasing.

Sometimes, however, the city must take steps to encourage property owners to maintain their properties. Code Enforcement is one tool the City of Richmond uses to accomplish this goal.

The division also issues Demolition Permits and Certificate of Occupancy permits for residential uses.

The Code Enforcement Process

The process begins with an inspection of the property including all buildings, garages and sheds. An inspection also includes yards, sidewalks and alleys.

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 the violations; in some cases repairs may require a permit. If it is a rental property the tenant may also receive a notice and be held responsible for the corrective actions. Each notice contains the contact information for the code enforcement inspector who cited the deficiencies. If you receive a notice you should contact the inspector to review the violations cited and discuss any additional information that may be beneficial to both parties.

When violations are not corrected within the allowed time, the responsible party may be summoned to court. Corrective actions may be performed by the City and a tax lien placed on the property.

Property Maintenance Codes

Some of the more common items that must be maintained are as follows.

  • Remove any accumulated trash or refuse from your yard, sidewalk area and alley.
  • Maintain the area from your yard to the center of the alley.
  • Cut grass and weeds to less than 12 inches in height.
  • Trim any vegetation that protrudes into the alley, sidewalk or public right-of-way.
  • Ensure that all vehicles on your property are in operating condition and display current license plates or a current state inspection sticker unless the vehicle is fully enclosed in a garage.
  • Ensure that all structures including houses, garages, sheds, walls and fences are structurally sound and in good repair.
  • Secure vacant buildings against unauthorized entry.


Stairways, porches, decks, balconies, handrails, and guard rails must be properly anchored and able to safely support a normal weight load. Vacant buildings must be secured against entry pending demolition or repair.

For more detailed information you may view the the following documents.

Vacant Building Registry

Vacant Building Information

The data in the Vacant Building List is collected by the City of Richmond Property Maintenance Division and is extracted from information collected by Inspectors during their daily inspections. It is not a violation for a building to be vacant but when a building is found to be vacant, it is noted in the department’s tracking system and the property is monitored until such time as it is reoccupied and code compliant. If the property is code compliant no action is taken other than monitoring. It a building is found to be non code compliant a notice of violation may be issued and other actions taken. Once the building is occupied, it is removed from the Vacant Building List.

Vacant Building Registration

A building must be registered with the Commissioner of Buildings when it has been continuously vacant for over 12 months and meets the definition of “derelict” as found in the Code of Virginia §15.2-907.1. Registration requires the completion of the registry form and submission of the $100.00 annual fee. Failure to register shall result in a two hundred dollar ($200.00) civil penalty or in a two hundred fifty dollar ($250.00) civil penalty if the property is located in a conservation or redevelopment area or in a designated blighted area. Upon re-occupancy, the owner shall notify the department of planning and development review in writing.

A vacant building may contain more than one dwelling or unit. For example, if you have a quadplex under one roof and three units are unoccupied; this is not a vacant building. A building is not deemed vacant until it is completely unoccupied. The same principal applies to commercial structures.

If you have questions regarding the Vacant Building List, please contact the Vacant Building Coordinator at (804)646-6357 or email or visit Room G-12 in City Hall.

Code of Virginia – Definition of Blighted

Authority to require removal, repair, etc., of buildings that are declared to be derelict. Any locality that has a real estate tax abatement program in accordance with this section may, by ordinance, provide that:
1. The owners of property therein shall at such time or times as the governing body may prescribe submit a plan to demolish or renovate any building that has been declared a “derelict building.” For purposes of this section, “derelict building” shall mean a residential or nonresidential building or structure, whether or not construction has been completed, that might endanger the public’s health, safety, or welfare and for a continuous period in excess of six months, it has been
(i) vacant,
(ii) boarded up in accordance with the building code, and
(iii) not lawfully connected to electric service from a utility service provider or not lawfully connected to any required water or sewer service from a utility service provider.

Available Financial Assistance

If you are conducting a major rehabilitation to an older property, you may be eligible for Richmond's Tax Abatement Program for Rehabilitation of Real Estate that may qualify you for tax abatement for up to ten years. Other programs are available that may assist you depending on your circumstances; those programs are listed in our links.

Richmond Rehabilitation of Real Estate Tax Program: Assessor's Office

Contact Information:

Property Maintenance
  - Planning and
    Development Review
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Room G-12
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: (804)  646-6398
Fax: (804)  646-0798

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If you have any questions, please call the City's Customer Care Center at 3-1-1 or (804) 646-7000

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