Florida property owners should know that they are legally responsible for making sure that their property and use thereof comply with applicable city and county codes. Pursuant to Chapter 162 of the Florida Statutes, both cities and counties have broad authority to enforce building codes, safety rules, regulations, and laws related to residential, commercial, and industrial properties that protect against threats to public health, safety, and welfare.
Each local government has its own set of regulations enforced and monitored by their own code enforcement. Typical code violations involve:
- Construction without necessary building permits
- Abandoned and/or unregistered motor vehicles on the property
- Dangerous animals
- Overgrown lots
- Illegal structures
- Building too close to property lines
- Illegal dumping
- Operating a business in a residential zone
Florida law allows citizens to file complaints regarding code violations, which code enforcement officers will register and evaluate the claim. If the violation is determined to be valid, cities and counties can issue large fines to the property owner and impose liens on the property.
If you are a property owner charged with a violation of the code, it is imperative to understand that you only have 30 days from the execution of a code enforcement order to file an appeal or your right to appeal will be lost forever. The three main themes of code enforcement appeals, under Chapter 162 of the Florida Statutes, are as follows:
- Due process – whether the code enforcement authorities provided the property owner with proper notice of the violation and a reasonable opportunity to cure the alleged violation;
- Substantial and competent evidence – whether the code enforcement authorities presented enough evidence about the alleged violation in support of its ultimate decision; and
- Whether the local government’s ruling departs from the “essential requirements of law” – did the code enforcement authorities apply the correct law to the particular code enforcement case it decided.
If a code enforcement officer has cited you for violating a city or county code, rule or regulation, you should immediately contact an experienced code enforcement attorney like the Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A.. We can help you challenge the violation, prepare an appeal, negotiate a reduced fine, or prevent the imposition of a lien on your property.
Call the Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A. today to have our attention to detail and real estate transactional and litigation experience provide you with the insight to achieve solutions to your most complex real estate matters.
“Detail. Insight. Solutions.”