A zoning use inspection is required when there’s a change of ownership of a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) that is 10 years old (or older). The typical scope of the inspection is to verify the number of units in the building, the number of parking spaces, and to ensure the property conforms to modern Life Safety Code requirements. This inspection will be performed by a building inspector from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).
Because the property was previously issued a CO, can I still fail the inspection?
The answer is yes. If the inspector finds an item(s) that does not pass the D.C. building codes, they can require you to repair/fix/abate the item(s). Over the years, building codes are updated to meet the changing times, and newer technologies are developed to ensure safe construction. While you might be excused for some items that were based on the building code at the time of construction, other items, especially those that are listed as “life-safety” items, have to be updated to meet the current code. Examples of some life-safety items are smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and size of egress windows. DCRA allows you a certain amount of time to repair/fix/abate items, after which you must have another inspection to show that the failed item(s) have been repaired/fixed/abated.