Code Violations

Click here to open a PDF version of this tip sheet.

This document is intended to assist with resolving a notice of violation or code compliance case received for a property. Violations can result from unsafe situations and unpermitted activities on private and public properties for construction and modifications to sites and structures.

Types of Violations
Types of violations may include changes to grades, clearing of vegetation or drainage, plumbing, mechanical, being out of compliance with the minimum housing and structures code or development standards, noncompliant uses of land and structures, setbacks, or unpermitted activities within critical areas and associated buffers (wetlands, streams, geohazards, flood plains, shorelines, and biodiversity areas).  Also, right of way infrastructure activities including, but not limited to: tree removal, plantings, or modifications to storm and sanitary sewer, other utilities, roadway/alley and driveways. Please note electrical activities must be addressed with Tacoma Power.

Violation Notice and City Codes
Notice of Violation Upon notice from the authorized City representative that work on any site, building or structure is being used or constructed contrary to the provisions of the City adopted codes or in an unsafe and dangerous manner, such work shall be discontinued until the violation or code case is addressed through permitting or other City approved method. The violation or code case will be in writing and and it will be given to the owner of the property involved, to the owner’s agent, or to the person doing the work and it will state the reason for the violation and provide the City Department contact to resolve. City codes for enforcing violations and code cases are adopted through Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) and include: Unfit Buildings (TMC 2.01), Derelict Building (TMC 2.01), right-of-way work violations (TMC 10.22), Land Use/Zoning violations including Critical Areas violations (TMC 13.05), and site and building non-compliant work, completed unpermitted work, and site activities without permits (TMC 2.02 and 2.19).

Where to Begin
When you are applying for permits to resolve a Notice of Violation or Code Case you may have to obtain permits from various departments and agencies. The City of Tacoma’s Planning and Development Services Department can help determine the necessary people to contact and the appropriate documents necessary.

Your First Visit to The Permit Counter
Most properties that have a Code Compliance Case or Notice of Violation are not eligible for Over the Counter Permits. Our current levels of service for permit review is posted on-line at  More complex work such as critical area violations or discretionary Land Use permitting (variance, rezone, etc.) may require a meeting with staff to go over the multiple reports necessary to resolve the violation.

 What to Provide and How to Apply

  • Provide a copy of the Notice of Violation and/or City code case report with you. Including any agreed upon “action plan” if one was required by the City Code Compliance Inspector.
  • Provide the scope of work and your drawings to address all the items identified in the violation/code case. Photos of the work may also assist with understanding the extent of work.
  • Meet with City staff to review the drawings with you in an attempt to verify the full scope of work being addressed in the submittal. This is can help prevent multiple re-submittals and additional plan review fees due to lack of information or unclear plans.
  • Applications can be submitted online at


  • Identify what issues need to be addressed on the property by reading through the Notice of Violation or Code Compliance Report.
  • Prepare scope of work and drawings addressing the work area and details with your architect/engineer, if required.
  • Contact the Permitting Office with your report, plans, scope of work, and any other pertinent information.
  • Make sure you work with your Code Compliance Inspector and keep them informed of your progress.
  • Submit for all applicable permits online using Tacoma’s Accela Citizen Access (ACA) Portal.
  • Make sure you work with your Code Compliance Inspector – being sure to inform them that a permit has been applied for and provide them with the permit number.
  • Once your permit is approved, paid for, and issued, you can proceed with the work according to the issued permit, being sure to call for the appropriate inspections along the way.

NOTE: proof of ownership may be required if different from the Pierce County Assessor records.

  • Make sure you work with your Code Compliance Inspector – informing them that the permit has been issued.

Once all permits and inspections are completed and finaled you can contact your Code Compliance Inspector to close out the Code Violations on the property.

Additional Resources


Example of written scope of work

Example of floor plan

Example Site Plan

Translate »