UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Is DC’s Third Party Inspection Program Frustrating Buyers?

by Mark Wellborn

In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who closed on an under-construction condo in Dupont Circle in January is frustrated by the city’s stalled third party inspection program which is sitting on an approval for the project. He is curious if other buyers have had similar experiences with the program.

Back in December, I came to an agreement on a condo in Dupont. The unit is in a row house that is being completely gutted and renovated by a developer. The project was supposed to be done by the end of January, but the delivery date keeps getting pushed back. The developer is claiming that DC changed their third party inspection program without telling anyone, which has effectively shut down the program. Apparently, the property has been ready for an inspection since mid-January but has been sitting idle since then while the developer awaits some sort of approval from the city.  From what I gather, their third party inspector needs to be re-approved by the city before it can inspect the building, and DC is just sitting on that approval.  My developer says that all new residential projects in the city are affected by this, and that developers are very angry.

This is extremely frustrating for me because my interest rate lock-in is set to expire soon and because my current living situation is undesirable and I really need to move ASAP.  But if what my developer is saying is true, this issue should be of concern to anyone looking for new construction in D.C. because it is limiting an already diminished supply of new units. Has anyone else been affected by this issue?

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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* UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Are DC Homeowners Seeing Their Tax Assessments Increase?
* UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Will I Get a Lower Price on a Condo Before It Delivers?

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_is_dcs_third_party_inspection_program_frustrating_buy/1902


  1. Jon Silver said at 12:05 pm on Tuesday March 23, 2010:

    A few years ago, a friend of mine had to deal with this exact same situation, but ultimately the city got its act together and he moved in. Unfortunately, he couldn’t really do anything to speed up the process and just had to be patient.

  1. Mike Rupert said at 2:56 pm on Wednesday March 24, 2010:

    Dear Reader,

    First, I want you to contact me immediately at michael.rupert(at)dc.gov so we can look into your specific address.

    The Third Party Inspection process is not, nor has it ever been stalled and we received and approve dozens of requests everyday.

    It has, however, changed. We issued a new manual and guidelines for Third Party inspections that require minimum standards for experience and education for those individuals actually conducting Third Party inspections and those who oversee their work.

    DCRA takes the safety of the citizens of DC very seriously. We set new guidelines and requirements for our own inspectors who are now required to have multiple industry certifications and years of experience. We feel third party inspectors should meet those same requirements.

    DCRA is constantly evaluating the requirements and making adjustments to make the process easier for those who use it.  To illustrate, DCRA launched a new, combined form to make the approval to use TPI on a project easier than it had been.  This one change should result in DCRA being able to approve TPI requests even faster.

    All of these changes have been done in collaboration with the Third Party industry and they will continue to be a part of our process to professionalize inspections across the city.

    DCRA has allowed those Agencies approved under the old system to continue to operate and do business while they worked to achieve compliance with the new system within one year of its adoption. No agencies have not been denied any service.

    If anyone has an issue, please contact me immediately and we’ll respond. Thanks.

    - Mike Rupert, DCRA

  1. DCAgent said at 10:01 am on Thursday March 25, 2010:

    If you are working with a Real Estate Agent there are many things you can ask for if your rate lock expires since this is out of your control. Think of creative ways to ask for compensation.

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