Office of Administrative (Rule to Show Cause) Hearings
The Department of Land Use has the responsibility of investigating complaints and ensuring compliance with the adopted codes and standards for the following codes: Building, Property Maintenance, Drainage, UDC, and Rental. There are four types of notices that may be sent to a property owner/responsible party prior to the scheduling of an Administrative Hearing:
- Notice of Violation
- Unsafe Notice
- Stop Work Notice
- Unfit for Human Habitation Notice
The Notice of Violation affords the property owner/responsible party sufficient time to remedy the violation as shown on the referenced notice. If the violation is not corrected within the time frame indicated in the notice, an Administrative (Show Cause) Hearing is scheduled.
The Unsafe Notice and Stop Work Notice require the owner/responsible party to appear within ten days before an Administrative Hearing Officer.
Administrative Hearings afford an opportunity to provide testimony regarding the alleged violations prior to any penalty and /or abatement being imposed. If you have received a violation notice instructing you to appear for an Administrative Hearing, it is your responsibility to attend the hearing, or arrange to have an authorized representative appear on your behalf. Failure to attend may impact the submission of evidence to be considered by the Administrative Hearing Officer.
The Administrative Hearing Officer ensures the right of all persons to be treated in a fair and unbiased manner. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but fundamental due process shall be observed and shall govern the proceeding. All parties in attendance are expected to be professional, courteous, and respectful during the hearing. A written decision will be mailed to the property owner/responsible party within twenty (20) days of the hearing. Should the property owner/responsible party wish to appeal the decision because they believe the hearing officer was arbitrary and capricious, an appeal can be applied for within twenty (20) days from the date of the Hearing decision.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I believe I have complied with the violations prior to the Hearing date. Why did I receive a notice to appear?
It is your responsibility to contact the New Castle County Representative at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing if you believe compliance has been met. Advise him/her that you believe the violation no longer exists and you would like to request a re-inspection to verify compliance. The NCC Representative’s name and contact information is included within the notification letter sent to the property owner/responsible party.
I am unable to attend on the date of the Hearing. How do I request a continuance?
Requests for continuances must be in writing and submitted to the Department of Land Use at least five (5) business days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The request is granted or denied by the appropriate section indicated on the violation notice. If your request is granted, you will receive written notice of a new date and time. If your request is denied, your case will be heard as scheduled.
What if I am unable to reach my New Castle County representative?
You may submit your questions electronically as this will provide you with documentation. Always remember to include your case number in the subject line of your correspondence. The email address to your New Castle County Representative is located on the notice of violation letter or citation. You may also call the Department of Land Use at (302) 395-5400 and request to speak with the New Castle County Representative or their supervisor. It is also helpful to provide your case number to your Representative.
Where are the Administrative (Show Cause) Hearings held?
All Administrative Hearings are held at the New Castle County Government Center, 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE 19720. Hearings are held throughout the calendar year during the following hours:
- Monday through Friday 9:00AM – 2:00PM
The office is closed on weekends and holidays. Individuals needing reasonable accommodations should contact the Department of Land Use at (302) 395-5400 at least five (5) days prior to their scheduled hearing.
The well-being of our residents and customers is of the highest priority to the New Castle County Department of Land Use. As a result, we’ve moved to virtual hearings utilizing Microsoft Teams. Teams can be accessed via app, the web or call-in. No later than five business days prior to the scheduled hearing date, please provide an email address to the Department (by email to AdminHearings@newcastlede.gov or phone call to Tracey Ginn at 302-395-5406) in which New Castle County can forward a calendar appointment to you including instructions on how to connect via Microsoft Teams.
Where do I park when attending a New Castle County Administrative (Show Cause) Hearing?
Free parking is available in the parking area located in the front of the New Castle County Government Center Building at 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE.
What do I bring to an Administrative (Show Cause) Hearing?
You may bring non-returnable copies of any pertinent documents, receipts, site plans, correspondence, permits, or color photographs regarding the case that will help you tell your story. If you would like to submit electronic evidence to the Administrative Hearing Officer, please submit the evidence to: AdminHearings@newcastlede.gov. It is important to display your case number in the subject line of the email and all evidence must be received 24 hours prior to the Administrative Hearing. Evidence should be submitted in the form of a PDF. Be as prepared as possible and know the facts supporting your case.
Because the Government Center is currently closed to the public and attendance at these hearings in person is not permitted, hearing evidence, if any, is unable to be submitted to the hearing officer during the hearing. Instead, we will accept your evidence submissions using one of the following methods outlined below, at least one full business day prior to the hearing.
1. Email: Please email any correspondence to AdminHearings@newcastlede.gov
2. Postal mail: You may mail your submissions to - New Castle County Department of Land Use, 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE 19720, Attn: Hearing Officer
3. Drop-Off submissions: The New Castle County Government Center is only open for dropping off your correspondence. Inside the building vestibule, there is a mailbox available for you to place your submissions. Please label any documents Attn: Hearing Officer
*Important: Please include the Case number at the top of this letter in your submission.
Do I need an attorney, or may I represent myself at the Administrative (Show Cause) Hearing?
An Administrative Hearing is not a judicial proceeding. It is your choice whether you would like an attorney to represent you, or you would prefer to represent yourself.
When will a decision regarding my case be issued?
A written decision from the Administrative Hearing Officer shall be issued within twenty (20) business days after the close of the hearing.
What information is included in the Administrative Hearing Officer’s decision?
The Administrative Hearing Officer’s written decision is a brief summary of the hearing process either affirming or dismissing the violation based off the evidence/testimony presented during the hearing. If applicable, the decision will provide a specific amount of time to correct any violations and may impose fines, fees, and/or abatement to remedy the outstanding violation.
Can I ask for an extension to comply?
Code Violations Cited by the Office of Code Enforcement:
If there are unexpected circumstances preventing the responsible party from correcting a code violation by the compliance date, a *Request for Extension to Comply application may be submitted to the Office of Code Enforcement.
Code Violations Cited by the Office of Building Inspections:
If there are unexpected circumstances preventing the responsible party from correcting a building code violation issued by the compliance date, a *Request for Extension to Comply (Building Inspections) can be submitted electronically.
*Please note: Any “Request for Extension to Comply” must be submitted to the Department no later than five days prior to the designated compliance date.
How do I appeal the Administrative Hearing Officer’s decision?
If you wish to appeal the Administrative Hearing Officer’s decision, you must do so by applying for an appeal to the appropriate board within twenty (20) business days of the issuance of the written decision. Please keep in mind that appeals may be submitted by any aggrieved party. It is also important to note that the applicant shall be required to pay all applicable appeal fees for the appeal to be acceptable. A link to this form is available on the Resources page.
Are audio copies of the Hearing available?
A copy of the audio can be obtained through the Department of Land Use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA Request) process.
How do I pay assessed fines and fees?
All fines and fees can be paid via credit card online at:
In person or *via US mail:
New Castle County Government
Department of Land Use
87 Reads Way
New Castle, DE 19720
*Please note: Remember to include your case number and property address on any correspondence to ensure proper processing of your payment. New Castle County methods of payment include cash, check, or credit card.
Appeal Process and Forms:
Request for Extension to Comply applications:
Links to Helpful Resources:
Resources Available within New Castle County
Understanding the Appeals Process for Administrative Hearing Decisions
Understanding the Appeals Process for Vacant Property Administrative Hearings