If you are a property owner in Florida, you may be subject to code enforcement. Code compliance violations in Florida, issued by code enforcers, can be serious and can carry penalties that property owners want to avoid.
What Can Code Enforcers Do in Florida?
A code enforcer, or code enforcement officer, investigates complaints about possible violations and is authorized to enforce land and property codes in an effort to eliminate conditions that threaten the life, health, safety, and general welfare of residents.
Typical code violations involve:
Construction without necessary building permits
Abandoned and/or unregistered motor vehicles on the property
Building too close to property lines
Operating a business in a residential zone
Can Code Enforcers Enter My Property?
Code enforcers cannot enter your property without your permission or a search warrant. The only exceptions to a warrant requirement would be if a dangerous condition can be seen without entering your property, then a code enforcement officer may cite you for the violation.
What is Local Code Enforcement?
In Florida, cities and counties have considerable power to enforce their codes, mainly through the imposition of daily fines that can range up to $500 per day. As these fines rack up, the local government can record a lien against the property in the public records. However, sometimes these local code enforcers can become overzealous, and not all violations are supported by law or evidence. Luckily, there are mechanisms to challenge the finding of violation, including appealing the decision to Circuit Court.
Are Code Enforcement Complaints Public Records in Florida?
Florida has a very broad public records law, and information collected during investigations into code violations is public records subject to Florida Sunshine laws.
Are Code Enforcement Complaints Anonymous in Florida?
In 2021, Florida passed a new law banning anonymous complaints to code officers. This bill prohibits county and municipal code enforcers from initiating an investigation into violations of city or county codes or ordinances based upon an anonymous complaint.
Have You Received a Code Compliance Violation?
Being responsive to the violation is key. A resolution to the code violation will be mandatory and you will need to take action before the end of the stated period detailed by the violation. If you plan to challenge the violation, some jurisdictions will require that you submit a defense package the week before your enforcement hearing. This step should not be missed because it may waive your defense and your chance to explain your side of the case.
Challenge Your Code Violation with Experienced Legal Help
I’m Rob Robinson. As a 5th generation Floridian, I understand that local code violations are a serious matter that can carry hefty penalties. Code violations are also complex issues because of the laws and regulations that govern each jurisdiction in Florida. It is important to know your rights and options when you have been cited for a code enforcement violation. The worst thing you can do is fight the violation alone.
I will help you navigate the bureaucracy associated with code enforcement and work tirelessly to get the results you need. Time is always of the essence with code violations, so please contact my office immediately.