Code of the District of Columbia

§ 8–807. Penalties for violations.

(a) The Mayor may impose any or all sanctions stated in this section.

(b)(1) The Mayor shall prepare and the Council of the District of Columbia (“Council”) shall approve a schedule of fines for violating rules listed in § 8-802, and the fines, when adopted, shall be printed in the D.C. Register and in 1 or more of the daily newspapers published in the District of Columbia (“District”).

(2) The schedule shall not be enforced until 30 days after publication in the D.C. Register.

(3) The Mayor may modify this schedule of fines by rulemaking. The modification shall become effective at the end of 45 calendar days unless the Council, during the 45-day period, adopts a resolution disapproving the Mayor’s modification.

(c) In addition to the civil fine permitted under subsection (b) of this section, the following penalties may be imposed:

(1) In the case of a person receiving a notice of violation who fails to answer the notice within the time specified by § 8-804(f), a penalty equal to the amount of the civil fine; and

(2) In the case of a person receiving a notice of violation who answers but fails without good cause to appear on the date scheduled for the hearing, a penalty equal to twice the amount of the civil fine.

(d) The Mayor may recover up to 3 times the cost and expense incurred by the Mayor for abating the nuisance, preventing the recurrence of the violation, and cleaning and clearing the site where the unlawful disposal occurred and for properly disposing of the solid waste.

(d-1) The Mayor or hearing examiner may suspend or refuse to reissue any permit or license which authorizes the respondent to engage in the activity to which the sanction relates, or which otherwise substantially relates to the violation, if the respondent fails to pay any fines, penalties, interest, costs, or expense imposed pursuant to this chapter. Suspension of the permit or license shall continue until payment is made.

(e) The hearing examiner may agree with the person subject to penalties under this section to allow an alternative sanction requiring the respondent to perform, on a voluntary basis, a specific number of hours of community service comparable to the severity of the violation. The assignment will be made by the hearing examiner according to rules provided for by § 8-810 and in conjunction with a representative of the District of Columbia Department of Public Works.

(f)(1)(A) The amount to be paid under a notice of violation and any other charges, expenses, costs, penalties, and interest shall be a continuing and perpetual lien in favor of the District upon all real and personal property belonging to a person named in the notice and shall have the same force and effect as a lien created by judgment. Interest shall accrue on the amount due as provided in subsection (h) of this section.

(B) The lien shall attach to all property belonging to the named person at any time during the period of the lien, including any property acquired by the named person after the lien arises.

(C) The lien shall have priority over all other liens, except liens for District taxes and District water charges; provided, that the lien shall not be valid as against any bona fide purchaser, or holder of a security interest, mechanic’s lienor or other such creditor interested in the property, without notice, until notice by filing the lien in the Recorder of Deeds. The lien shall be satisfied by payment of the amount of the lien to the agency that issued the notice.

(D) For reasonable cause shown, the Mayor may abate the amount of the notice and any other charge, expense, penalty, or interest.

(E) The Mayor may contract with any individual or business to collect the amount of the lien and remunerate the individual or business by fee, by a percentage of the amount collected, or both.

(2) As additional means for collection, the Mayor may enforce payment of the fines, other charges, expenses, costs, penalties, or interest imposed against the real property of the named person as follows:

(A) The agency that issues the notice shall record, with the Recorder of Deeds, and in accordance with § 47-1340, a real property tax lien captioned “Notice of Converted Real Property Tax Lien”. The real property tax lien shall be deemed a delinquent real property tax from the date of the conversion, shall accrue interest at the rate of interest charged for delinquent real property tax, and shall be perpetual. Subject to § 47-1340(f), payment thereof shall be credited to the General Fund of the District of Columbia. The real property may be sold at tax sale, regardless of the date of the conversion, in the same manner, under the same conditions, and subject to the same impositions of interest, costs, expenses, fees, and other charges, as real property sold for delinquent real property tax.

(B) The aggregate amount of the fines, charges, expenses, costs, penalties, and interest secured by the lien imposed under paragraph (1) of this subsection may appear on a real property tax bill, and the aggregate amount shall be:

(i) Deemed an additional real property tax to be collected in the same manner and under the same conditions as real property tax is collected, including the sale of the real property for delinquent tax;

(ii) Credited to the General Fund of the District of Columbia; and

(iii) Subject to the same penalty and interest provisions as delinquent real property tax is subject as of the date of the real property tax bill.

(C) The lien under paragraph (1) of this subsection, with penalty and interest as provided under this section, shall be converted to real property tax as of the due date for payment of the real property tax bill if payment is not made.

(3) If the lien has been converted to a real property tax lien under § 47-1340 or if the accrued amount of the lien appears on the real property tax bill, the real property tax lien shall be enforced under Chapter 13A of Title 47.

(g) The Mayor may require the owner of vacant property in the District to fence or otherwise enclose the property to prevent the recurrence of a violation of any part of this chapter.

(h)(1) The Mayor shall require the payment of an interest charge to be assessed against the total fine, penalty, and charge for abatement services performed by the Mayor that have not been satisfied, in full, within 30 days of the date that final notice, which requests payment, is mailed to the property owner. The rate of interest authorized by this section shall not exceed 1 1/2% per month or part of a month that accrues 30 days from the date of the final notice.

(2) If a private agency collects any outstanding fines, penalties, charges, and interest due the District government, the Mayor may require an additional payment to cover the cost of collecting the outstanding fine, penalty, charge, and interest.

(i) The Mayor may promulgate rules to carry out the intent and purposes of this section.