Department of Permits & Inspections
City Hall Building
801 Crawford St, 4th floor
Portsmouth, VA. 23704
Emergency after hours assistance please call
Department of Permits &
When a structure or equipment is found by the
code official to be unsafe, and/or unfit for human occupancy,
and/or unlawful, such structure shall be condemned pursuant to
the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.
Unsafe structure: An unsafe structure is one that is dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure. Examples include: unsafe equipment (boiler, heating equipment, elevator, etc.) or a structure that is damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is likely.
Unfit for human occupancy: When the code official finds that a
structure is unsafe, unlawful or because of the degree to which
the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is
unsanitary, vermin or rat infested or contains filth and
contamination it may be condemned. Condemnation may also be used
if there is no water, electricity or gas active in the dwelling.
Hot water is necessary for proper sanitation of the home. Water
is also necessary to flush commodes. Heat is necessary in the
Unlawful structure: An unlawful structure is one found in whole
or in part to be occupied by more persons than permitted or is a
use that has not been approved. If this structure is supposed to
be a single-family dwelling and is a duplex, it can be
condemned. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more
occupants then permitted by the minimum area requirements. If
you have any concerns about overcrowding or any other issues,
please contact our office.
If a dwelling is condemned, the owner will be notified by a placard and in writing of the violation (s) and the remedy to correct them. If the violation is one of an immediate threat to life or safety, the occupant will be ordered to vacate the unit at once. If an immediate threat is not present, but the condition is serious, a period of time to correct the condition may be given. If the violation is not corrected at the end of this time you will be required to vacate the unit.