Does the ECB issue environmental citations?

The ECB does not issue citations. The below agencies can issue environmental citations:

  • The Department of Housing and Community Development,

  • The Department of Transportation,

  • The Health Department,

  • The Fire Department,

  • The Department of Public Works,

  • The Department of Recreation and Parks, and

  • The Police Department

In order to be neutral in the hearing process, the ECB does not play a role in citations being issued.

What is an environmental citation?

An environmental citation is issued when there is a violation of the Baltimore City Code. Every citation has a fine amount. The fine amount is set by the Code and is immediately due and owing unless a timely hearing is requested. Citations can be a non-lien, which is a personal debt, or they can be a lien, which is a debt that impacts property.

If unpaid, citations can be collected through suit or tax sale.

How will I know if I am cited?

Citations are commonly served by the issuing agency through mail or in-person service. Typically, the issuing agency uses the mailing address associated with the property’s real property records. To verify the mailing address on your real property records, check with the State’s Department of Assessments and Taxation. If you need to update your mailing address, you can do so with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s Property Location office.

If you have a non-owner occupied property or a vacant property, please note that updating your property registration will not update your real property records.

I was not warned before receiving a citation. Does this mean the citation is invalid and/or erroneous?

No. In most cases, the issuing agency is not required to warn you before issuing an environmental citation.

If I fix the violation, will the citation be closed and the fine waived?

No. Resolution of the violation does not resolve the citation.  The citation will still need to be paid or can be contested if a timely hearing is requested.

The abatement date on the citation is the date the violation must be fixed in order to prevent future citation issuance. Fixing the violation before the abatement date does not resolve the current citation.

What are my options when I receive a citation?

The cited person/entity has approximately 30 days to pay the citation or to request a hearing with the ECB.

If you believe the citation was issued in error and a hearing is not warranted, you must reach out to the issuing agency to request a void. The best practice would be to request a hearing with the ECB while also contacting the issuing agency. You should always try to preserve your hearing rights. 

If you do not pay the fine or request a hearing, and if the issuing agency does not void the citation, penalties will accrue.

How do I request a hearing?

The last page of the citation has a Return Form. The form must be filled out and mailed by certified mail to the ECB. It can also be submitted via email or online. Please only send the form once to prevent duplication. If concerned about the ECB’s receipt, contact the agency by phone or email to confirm.

There is a deadline on the form, so please be timely.

What happens in a hearing?

The hearing process is informal and administrative. The ECB is not part of the judiciary and the hearing officers are not judges; however, their determination is binding unless appealed.

In the hearing, the hearing officer will give the issuing agency a chance to present their case and then the cited person will have a chance to present their case. Both sides are given an opportunity to ask questions and to rebut. Cited persons should bring any and all evidence they wish to present and any witnesses they wish to testify.

The hearing officer can uphold the citation entirely, uphold the citation but reduce the fine amount, or dismiss the citation. Though usually provided on the day of the hearing, the hearing officer has 30 days from the date of the hearing to provide their written decision.

Please note that all hearings are recorded.

Am I entitled to an attorney?

There is no legal entitlement to an attorney and, because the process is not judicial, an attorney is not necessary; however, cited persons may be represented by an attorney if they choose to do so.

I cannot appear at the hearing, can someone else represent me? If not, how do I get a new hearing date?

Yes. If you cannot appear, you can authorize a third party to represent you at the hearing.  The third party must appear at the scheduled hearing date and time with a notarized letter from you that grants them the authority to appear on your behalf for the hearing.  The letter should be dated, signed by you, notarized, and include the citation number(s) and the name of the authorized person. They do not need to be an attorney.

If you cannot appear and/or a third party cannot appear on your behalf, a postponement can be requested by mail, fax, or email (contact information is at the bottom of the FAQ). The request must be made more than 5 days prior to the hearing date and must including supporting documentation.

I do not speak English. Can I bring a family member or a friend to the hearing to interpret?

You can bring a family member or a friend into the hearing room to testify, but they cannot interpret for you.  The ECB utilizes a telephone translation service.  If you are a Limited English Proficient person, inform the hearing officer during the hearing and they will use the translation service.

How do I appeal a hearing’s outcome?

At the conclusion of the hearing, request an appeal form from the hearing officer or the receptionist.  Within 30 days of the hearing, you must return the appeal form along with a brief of your arguments, pay the fine amount imposed by the hearing officer, pay the $15 administrative hearing fee, and pay the $50 appeal fee. The appeal is solely based on what happened at the hearing. You may not introduce new information for the appeal.

Appeals are heard by the ECB’s 15-member Board. The appeal is not open to the public and there is no opportunity for oral argument, unless expressly requested by the Board.

If unhappy with the Board’s determination, further appeal can be made to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, per the Maryland Rules.

How do I pay the citation?

Payment can be made online through the ECB’s website, by a mailed check or money order, or by a cash payment at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building.

Online payment: (orange ‘Pay a Fine’ icon)

Mailed payment or in-person cash payment:     Abel Wolman Municipal Building

                                                                                   200 N. Holliday St.

                                                                                   Baltimore, MD 21202


When do penalties begin to accrue?

If a citation is uncontested and unpaid, penalty begins to accrue on a monthly basis at a rate of 50% per month.  Ex. A $50 citation will accrue a penalty of $25/month. A $100 citation will accrue a penalty of $50/month.

The penalty will eventually cap once it is twice the amount of the fine or it hits $1,000, whichever is lesser. Ex. A $50 citation will cap with a $100 penalty, a total of $150 due. A $900 citation will cap with a $1,000 penalty, a total of $1,900 due.

To help track the penalty accrual, once the 30-day hearing request deadline passes, the ECB mails a ‘Notice of Default’ warning of penalty accrual. That notice contains a schedule showing how the penalty accrues on a monthly basis. Once the penalty caps, the ECB sends a ‘Final Order of Default.’

I did not get the citation, I only got the subsequent notices. What should I do?

Write a letter to the ECB explaining your circumstances as soon as you become aware of the citation.  Explain how you became aware of the citation and supply any additional information you would like to be considered.

Be sure to include your name, your phone number, and the citation number(s) in your correspondence.

My property is eligible for tax sale because of environmental citations. What should I do?

The ECB offers an annual tax sale review from February to April for all citations included on a Final Bill and Legal Notice.  The review is limited to notice and legality and it is conducted by a hearing officer.

For more information on how to participate, visit the ECB’s website. (yellow ‘Tax Sale’ icon).

How do I contact the ECB?

All requests must be made in writing.

General inquiries can be responded to over the phone.

Address:            Environmental Control Board

1 N. Charles St.

                           13th Floor

                           Baltimore, MD 21201



Fax:                     (410) 396-6876

Phone:               (410) 396-6909