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DPS Complaint Information 

Types of Complaints Addressed by DPS

 Building/Electrical/Historical Work Without a Permit 

Building permits are required for all new construction and additions to existing structures. Other projects requiring a permit include: bay windows, garages, sun rooms, decks and dormers; alterations, such as kitchen or bathroom remodeling, finishing an attic or basement, or reconfiguring a floor plan; minor structural repairs or replacement; and fence, retaining wall, shed and pool construction.

An Electrical Permit is required for work that involves installing, repairing, or maintaining any electrical wiring or device designed for conducting, consuming or converting electrical current.

A Historic Area Work Permit is required for any work that changes the exterior features of any historic site or any historic building located within any Historic District, or designated in the Historic Atlas as an historic site.

Right Of Way Construction Without a Permit

Right of way violations typically involve non-standard driveway aprons, illegal curb cuts, and construction debris or construction in the right of way.

Sign Installation Without a Permit

There are three types of signs permitted in Montgomery County: permanent, limited duration and temporary signs.  All signs are regulated by their type, the general zoning classification where they are located and their size and placement on the property.

A sign permit is required for any permanent sign posted on private property for more than 30 days and any limited duration sign in the public right-of-way. Temporary signs and limited duration signs are permitted on private property without a permit

Certain signs are prohibited. Examples include: roof signs, obstructive signs, unsafe signs, signs that move such as banners, pennants, streamers, balloons, etc., signs attached to traffic devices or utility poles, and signs placed unlawfully in the public right-of-way.

Sediment Control Violations

Sediment control complaints typically involve construction and earth moving activities. Normally, these complaints involve concerns about earth moving of 5,000sq feet without proper permits or sediment run-off onto private property, streams, public roads and right-of-ways.

Zoning Violations (Illegal Uses/Activities & Occupancy Limits)

Zoning complaints typically involve allegations of improper uses/activities in residential, business, and other zones and violations of building restrictions such as setbacks, lot coverage, and height limits.  DPS will investigate alleged zoning violations involving:

  • Animals in a residential zone
  • Building height
  • Building lot coverage
  • Building setbacks
  • Commercial vehicles on residential property
  • Fences
  • Front yard parking
  • Home Occupations
  • Improper use of property/building
  • Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Site Plans
  • No Use and Occupancy Certificate
  • Signs
  • Special Exceptions
  • Vendor

How To File A Complaint

There are two ways you can file a complaint.

It is best to file a complaint by calling:

In Montgomery County, call 311

Outside of Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311

Your complaint may require multiple departments to investigate and MC311 is equipped to coordinate the investigation.


You can file a complaint regarding the above complaint types online at the DPS web site Click Here

Go to the bottom of the page and click on “Submit an Online Complaint”

What You Can Expect From DPS When You File A Complaint

Any person who calls in a complaint, about any of the issues noted above, should expect to receive prompt and courteous treatment from 311 staff or DPS staff. 

Complaint Intake

When taking a complaint, staff will ask you several questions in order to obtain the information necessary to process and investigate a complaint.  This includes but may not be limited to the following information:  address where the violation is occurring, what time of day or what days of the week the violation exists, your name and telephone number. You can ask to be a confidential complainant (your name will not be released unless we are ordered to do so by a Court of Law), or you can leave your name and phone number without asking to be confidential so that we can contact you to advise you what we have done about your complaint. 

Complaint Investigation and Resolution

The targeted time for DPS to make the first site visit is three business days from receipt of the complaint for sediment control, right of way and well and septic complaints.  The targeted time for DPS to make the first site visit for building, electrical, and zoning complaints is five days from receipt of the complaint.  You can expect that the staff member who investigates your concerns will advise you of the findings of the investigation, explain the process to correct the violation and provide you with a timeframe for the correction. If the violation is not corrected during the timeframe given to the violator, a civil citation (ticket) will be issued which requires the violator to go to court where a Judge will hear the violator’s reasons for not correcting the violation.  If the violator is found guilty, the Judge may issue a Court order prescribing corrections the violator must make within a given period of time.  The targeted time to resolve a complaint is four business days from receipt of the complaint for sediment control, right of way and well and septic complaints.  The targeted time for DPS to resolve building, electrical and zoning complaints is fifteen days from receipt of the complaint.

View Complaint Status Online

You can also view the complaint status online.  Go to the DPS web site Click Here, “property address” and enter the complaint location.  Select the address then select “service request” under Permit Type.  A description of the complaint, the inspector’s name and the complaint resolution will be provided.

DPS is committed to providing courteous, complete, and efficient investigation of violations and prompt responses to complainant’s questions.


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