Property Standards and Code Enforcement
The Department of the Fire Marshal and Permit Services is charged with enforcing City Codes and Ordinances relating to building and property standards. These standards ensure the protection of the public health and safety. The full collection of regulations enforced by the Department is contained in several portions of the Municipal Code. However, city residents (particularly property owners) should be aware of the following property standards, as they impact a significant number of residents, and consequently are the most frequently violated.
Unregistered or Abandoned Vehicles
Section 18-166 of the Municipal Code prohibits unregistered, inoperable and dismantled vehicles of any type from being parked or stored on private or public property. In addition, all vehicles must have current registration. While it is specifically forbidden to park or store vehicles on unpaved property, in the case of unregistered and inoperable vehicles this includes paved driveways. It is also forbidden to use on-street parking for unregistered or inoperable vehicle storage.
Once a vehicle has been cited in violation of section 18-166, the City allows three days to correct the violation. Failure to correct the violation in this time results in the impoundment of the vehicle, with any fines, towing and storage fees being levied against the vehicle's owner.
Snow and Ice Removal
Section 18-181.2 of the Municipal Code states that the owner or occupant of a property is responsible for the removal of snow and/or ice from any sidewalk abutting the property. Removal of snow must be completed within 12 hours of the cessation of any snowfall. Likewise, removal of ice must be completed within 12 hours of the formation of such ice.
Due to the public safety issues attributed to snow and ice, any violation issued must be corrected immediately. Failure to comply can be result in a fine being levied against the property owner.
Grass and Weeds
Section 18-181 of the Municipal Code states that every owner, occupant, lessee or property manager of a property located within the municipal limits of the City of Laurel is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their lawns by ensuring that all grass and weeds do not exceed 8 inches in height.
Once a property has been posted with a violation, the City allows three days to correct the violation. If the situation is not remedied within this period, the City is empowered to correct the situation (i.e. cut the violating grass and weeds) at the property owner's expense and potentially place a lien and/or levy fines.
Trash and Debris
Section 18-182 and Section 18-184 of the Municipal Code states that allowing large accumulations of trash and refuse or allowing pools of foul or stagnant liquids to collect on a property within city limits constitutes a violation.
Once a property has been posted with a violation, the City allows three days to correct the violation. If the violation persists beyond this three day period, the City is empowered to correct the situation (i.e. cut the violating grass and weeds) at the property owner's expense and potentially place a lien and/or levy fines.
Portable Storage Containers
Sec. 8-46 of the Municipal Code restricts the number, size, use and placement of portable storage units and requires a permit to be obtained. For more information, see the Permits page.
What to Do if You Have Received a Correction Order
It is important to understand that a correction order is not a fine. It is an opportunity to take action to remedy a violation before a fine is levied. Every correction order references:
- The section of the Municipal Code which constitutes the violation
- A description of the violation
- What corrective action(s) need to be taken to abate the violation
- A deadline date stating when the corrective action(s) must be completed
- The name of the Code Enforcement Officer who issued the correction order.
If you are unable to complete the corrective action by the deadline date or you have other questions, you need to contact the Inspector who issued the correction order at 301-725-5300.
The Code Enforcement Inspectors spend a significant portion of their day in the field. As a result, they are not always immediately available to speak to you when you call. If this happens, you should leave a voicemail message with a contact phone number so that the Inspector can return your call upon return to the office. Other departmental staff members will not be familiar with the particulars of your case and as a result will not be able to answer specific questions.
Reporting Issues, Inquires or Potential Violations
Aside from surveying the City for potential violations, the Department of the Fire Marshal and Permits Services (FMPS) is obliged to investigate citizen issues, inquires or possible violations of the City's building and property standards. Inquires, issues and possible violations can be reported through the following means:
- Submit your request through the City's My Laurel App
- View the MyLaurel Mobile App page.
- Via email the Fire Marshal and Permits department
- Via phone: 301-725-5300, ext. 2238. This should be used as last resort due to staffing availability
Complaints can be registered anonymously. When reporting an issue, inquiry, or possible violation, the street address of the property is needed for FMPS to investigate.
Foreclosure Registration Program
View the Foreclosure Registration Program page for more information.