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Our office of Code Enforcement investigates complaints of code violations on private property in unincorporated King County as outlined in Title 23 of the King County Code.

Go to code violation examples for a list of the types of zoning, housing and building, shorelines, and critical areas violations Code Enforcement handles as well as contact information for types of complaints investigated by other agencies.

Complaints for other agencies

For emergencies (activities happening now that may cause irreparable environmental damage or create a safety concern) occurring on weekends, holidays, or after-hours, call 1-888-437-4771. See urgent complaints for examples of calls that would be appropriate.

A code violation complaint about activities in unincorporated King County may be filed in one of the following ways:

  • Call 206-296-6680 during regular business hours to file a complaint by telephone, or
  • Send a letter to:
    Code Enforcement - Department of Permitting & Environmental Review
    35030 SE Douglas St., Ste. 210
    Snoqualmie, WA 98065-9266

Instructions for submitting a complaint

  • Your name and phone number are NOT required. If you wish to remain confidential, you must state that in your complaint.
    NOTICE: The information contained in this complaint is a public record subject to disclosure under the Washington Public Records Act (RCW42.56) and may be requested and inspected by any person. The identity of a complaining party (complainant) may be withheld from public inspection at the Agency's discretion if the complainant indicates that disclosure will endanger any person's life, physical safety, or property. However, if a court case is filed as a result of this complaint, the complainant's identity may be disclosed regardless of a request that it be withheld.
  • Provide specific, accurate, and complete information in addition to your name and phone number. Include the address or parcel number of the property in violation, name of the property owner, name of the tenant if the property is leased, and description of the violation.
  • A parcel, its location, or permit/case number can be identified by using Parcel Viewer, which is also accessible on the online complaint form via the Property Research link.
  • Note that the Permitting Department Code Enforcement group investigates complaints only in unincorporated King County. If the property is located within city limits (Seattle, Issaquah, Kent, etc.), you must contact the city, not the Permitting Department. If unsure, check jurisdiction and zoning online. For links to local cities and towns, see http://www.mrsc.org/byndmrsc/cities.aspx (external link).

All complaints are processed in the order that they are received. However, complaints are prioritized right away according to their impact on the environment and public safety. The most significant impacts may be investigated first. So, please provide specific and complete details because information received may affect the time it takes to investigate a complaint.

Upon receipt of a complaint, Code Enforcement will gather basic property information and assign a case number to the complaint. Complaints are then routed to a specific CEO for investigation. Initial contact with a suspected violator generally occurs within 30 days of receiving a complaint, although environmental hazards and other high priority cases are investigated as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours.

To look up the status of case/permit numbers and to view code enforcement action information:

Some violations are quick to resolve, while others take more time due to their complexity. Code Enforcement officers work with property owners in an attempt to educate them about the specific code requirements which apply to their property.

If the property owner is willing to work with the officer, then both parties agree to a compliance schedule. If the violator is a repeat offender or is unwilling to bring the property into compliance, the officer will issue an order which typically includes civil penalties and the possibility of a lien on the property. The order may be appealed to the Hearing Examiner and scheduled for a public hearing. In some extreme cases, the Code Enforcement office may abate the violation by hiring a contractor to bring the property into compliance.

No-Fault Cooperative Program is available for property owners who inadvertently cause minor environmental damage within the critical area buffers on their property. Recognizing that the code enforcement process and associated doubled permit review fees aren't always the most effective or efficient way to address minor infractions, we have a program to ease the burden on first-time environmental violators with minor damage. See No-Fault Cooperative Program to learn more.

The Citizen Mediation Program provides another method for resolving disputes.

Mediation is an informal and private way for people to work through a disagreement. The service is a fast, free and effective way to resolve issues that affect your neighborhood, your living situation or your business. An impartial third party assists the people involved in the problem to find solutions that work for everyone. Visit the King County Alternative Dispute Resolution site at www.kingcounty.gov/adr.