One purpose of the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections Code Enforcement is to protect the health, safety, and welfare in existing buildings and structures. PLI enforces the International Property Maintenance Code ("IPMC") as adopted by the City of Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances Title 10 Chapter 1004. PLI also enforces the Zoning Code – Title Nine.
Understanding Notices of Violation
Most inspections start with requests that are called, texted, tweeted or electronically submitted to the 311 Response Center. The requests are anonymous, and each request prompts an inspection.
Once an inspector gets a request, the inspector follows a standardized process that was made to make sure that property owners get legal notice of a violation and a reasonable amount of time to fix it. To see the process, click on this workflow chart.
If you get a notice of violation and want to talk to the inspector, please call their direct number, which is on the notice. Here is an example of a notice of violation:
If you must leave a voicemail, the inspector will make every effort to call you back as quickly as possible. Please give them a day to respond. When you talk to the inspector, you can talk about the notice, try to work out the issue, and/or schedule an appointment or follow-up inspection.
If you do not respond to the notice of violation and do not fix the violation, the inspector will do a second inspection and send a second notice. Again, you can still call the inspector, try to work things out, and fix the violation.
If the issue is not fixed by the deadline in the second notice, the inspector does a third and final inspection. If the inspector finds the same violation, you will receive a third notice, and a criminal court complaint will be filed with the local magisterial district judge. Once the judge receives the complaint, the judge will schedule a hearing and serve the hearing documents on the property owner of record. If you are found guilty at the hearing, the judge can impose a fine. If you do not pay the fine, the judge can find you in contempt and send you to jail. To hopefully avoid all of those things, even though it is ultimately up to the judge to decide what to do once a complaint has been filed, PLI encourages you to work with your inspector and fix the violations.
Types of Violations PLI Enforces
- Weeds and/or debris on a property
- Abandoned vehicles on private property only
- Sidewalks that are a tripping hazard
- Electrical Violations
- Building Violations
- Zoning Violations
Violations Enforced by Other City Departments
Police Bureau - 412-323-7800
- Abandoned vehicles in the Public Right of Way
Animal Control - 412-255-2036
- Any issues involving animals
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) - 412-255-2423
- Sewer or catch basins
City Planning - 412-255-2200
- Residential parking issues
Public Works - 412-255-2726
- Snow and ice removal
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I file a complaint?
Call the 311 Response Center at 311 or, if you are outside the City, at 412-255-2621, or file an electronic complaint form. After a complaint is filed with 311, it is forwarded to the PLI Code Enforcement Inspectors or the responsible department.
How can I determine who owns the property?
You can use the Allegheny County Real Estate Website to find the owner of record for a property. Please note that PLI is not responsible for the accuracy of content on websites external to the City of Pittsburgh site or on web pages external to PLI web pages.
What can PLI do about vacant properties owned by the URA or the City?
If there is a violation of City Ordinances, the City or the URA will be sent a notice of violation. Steps will be taken to raze or clean and secure the building, whichever is applicable.
How can I appeal an initial (first) notice of violation?
If the notice is for violation(s) of the City's Licensing Code (which is under Title 7 of the City Code) and/or International Property Maintenance Code ("IPMC") (which is adopted under Chapter 1004 of the City Code), then you would file the appeal with the Board of License and Inspection Review ("LIR Board"). For information on how to file an appeal with the LIR Board, please visit the LIR Board's web page.
If the notice is for violation(s) of the Uniform Construction Code ("UCC") (which is adopter under Chapter 1002 of the City Code), then you would file the appeal with the Board of Appeals ("BOA"). For information on how to file an appeal with the BOA, please visit the BOA's web page.
I received a notice of violation for my sidewalk but it is uplifted by a City tree, what do I do?
If a City tree is uplifting the sidewalk in front of your property, the property owner is responsible to fix the sidewalk. Hoever, before doing any work, you must contact the Department of Public Works' Forestry Division for root pruning at 412-665-3625 and the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure ("DOMI") for a sidewalk repair permit at 412-255-8850. The Forestry Division will prune the City tree at the proper time of year prior to the installation of the new sidewalk. Also, please note that you cannot plant, remove, or trim a City tree without a permit from Forestry. Please review the proper procedure for root pruning and sidewalk repair here.