Report Building Activity Done Without a Permit

Handling concerns

If you suspect someone is building or renovating a structure without a required permit, you have several options:

  • Is a permit required?

You can review regulations about work exempt from permit:

  • Has a permit been issued?
    • You can search for permits online. Type only the house number and street name, e.g. 555 Liberty rather than 555 Liberty St NE.
    • You can contact the Permit Application Center to verify the existence of a permit.
  • How can you report a problem?
    • You can contact the Permit Application Center to start an investigation.
    • You will be required to provide your name and contact information. Anonymous complaints will not be investigated.
    • Building activity must be visible from the public right-of-way in order to be investigated.

Investigations may be started for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Citizen complaint
  • Compliance Services report
  • Inspector report
  • Individual self-reports

Investigating a complaint

  • When a complaint is received, a Compliance Liaison is assigned to investigate and verify that a violation exists.

  • If the Compliance Liaison determines that a violation exists, all communications about correcting the situation will be made with the property owner.

  • Where possible, the Compliance Liaison and the property owner will work together informally to establish the compliance steps that must be taken and a reasonable timeline. Generally, a property owner can expect to have 14 calendar days to make the required corrections.

  • A written correction notice may be issued at any point in the investigation. The correction notice will include:

    • Specific instructions to be followed
    • A specified time period for completing the specific instructio
    • The Compliance Liaison's name and contact information

  • Investigation fees may be imposed when the required permits are obtained.

Enforcing compliance

Failure to comply with a correction notice will lead to the following:

  1. An Enforcement order for compliance. Generally, the enforcement order requires compliance within 15 calendar days.
  2. Continued failure to comply will result in civil penalties which may be up to $2,000 per violation per day.

Civil penalties are issued to the property. Unpaid penalties can adversely affect the sale of a property.

Contact us

Permit Application Center
General Questions
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Permit/License Processing
8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Plans Intake
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 320
Salem OR 97301
Mail payments to:
PO Box 3405
Portland OR 97208