Property Code Enforcement
Neighborhood Services exists to help residents understand, abide by, and raise concerns about compliance with property codes. The codes are there to guide the way we work together to maintain adequate health, safety and quality of life in the places where we live and conduct business in Prince William County.
Property Code Enforcement is a branch of the Neighborhood Services Division which helps to ensure our communities are properly maintained by enforcing the following:
'What happens when I report a possible violation?'
When you contact Neighborhood Services, Intake Technicians will determine if your issue requires that a Property Code Enforcement (PCE) case be opened or if your issue needs to be referred to another agency. Property Code Enforcement cases are assigned to an inspector who will contact you. You will also be given a PCE case number for tracking on the Web. The inspector will make an initial visit to investigate the concern, typically within five business days. The inspector will keep you informed of the progress of their inspections and let you know the outcome of the investigation.
Enforcement of the PWC Zoning Ordinance
Property Code Enforcement is responsible for enforcing the Zoning Ordinances of the Prince William County Code. The goal of this program is to ensure properties in Prince William County are maintained and used in accordance with the County's land use requirements. The most common issues which may result in violations are:
Inoperative vehicles on private property
Commercial vehicles on private property (please call for clarification on this type of violation)
Storage of items outside in the public view including under a porch or deck or inside a carport such as trash containers car parts tools construction materials etc.
Dump heap/trash storage
Illegal accessory structures
*Illegal businesses are those who have not secured proper permits and/or zoning approval to operate within a residential neighborhood.
Please note two things: 1) Inoperative vehicles on the public streets should be reported to the Prince William County Police non-emergency number at 703-792-6500. 2) Neighborhood Services does not issue any zoning permits or approvals. Permits and approvals are issued by Zoning Administration within the Planning Office (703-792-6830).
Enforcement of the Building Maintenance Code
Property Code Enforcement is responsible for enforcing the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) as it relates to existing structures. Our goal is to ensure all existing structures are in a structurally sound and safe condition. Common violations are:
- Unprotected exterior materials
- Exterior materials in disrepair
- Plumbing fixtures leaking or nonfunctional
- Electrical hazards or nonfunctional equipment
- Mechanical equipment nonfunctional
Neighborhood Services does not issue any building permits. Permits are issued by the Building Development Division (703-792-6930) which has responsibility for all new construction.
Spot Blight Program
Property Code Enforcement is responsible for enforcing the Spot Blight Ordinance where unsafe or rundown structures are identified for abatement. The Virginia Code definition of a 'blighted property' includes terms that describe a structure as one that endangers the public's health safety or welfare due to dilapidation deterioration or violation of minimum health and safety standards. Due process in these cases takes a significant amount of time but is an effort in which Neighborhood Services invests to prevent deterioration in our neighborhoods.
Illegal Sign Program
This program authorizes Prince William County to enforce state laws regarding illegal placement of temporary advertising signs on wire or stick-style wood posts in the "public right of way" which includes the medians, roadways, shoulders and areas alongside public roadways up to and sometimes beyond adjacent sidewalks. (For more information on the exact position of the VDOT Right of Way, please see the County Mapper GIS program.) NO temporary signs of any kind are EVER permitted in the VDOT right of way, and citizens should assume that signs placed there will have been done so illegally. Property Code Enforcement inspections are conducted throughout the County and signs are removed by Neighborhood Services' Litter Control Crews. Fines up to $100 may be imposed for each sign in violation.
Weeds and Tall Grass
Tall grass and weeds are unsightly can lead to rodent infestations and reflect that the property isn't cared for - a potential invitation to crime. Owners of residential property of less than two acres must keep grass and weeds cut to a maximum height of 12 inches. Property owners who do not comply can be issued a violation, which if not remedied may result in the County's contractors mowing the property to bring it back into compliance, at the owner's expense.
Other agencies may be able to help with issues or concerns not enforced by Neighborhood Services. Contact the following organizations for the listed concerns: