While there are many positives to managing a commercial property in Fort Lauderdale, there are also several nuances. Real estate properties such as retail, office, and apartment buildings must always be well-maintained and in a safe condition.

Failure to follow specific guidelines set forth by local Florida governments can result in an expensive fine. To avoid receiving a code violation from the Fort Lauderdale’s Building Department, look to remedy these 5 common commercial code violations.

1) Exterior Structure Upkeep

Building under constructionCommercial properties have a responsibility to maintain the attractiveness of its original condition – starting with the exterior structure. It’s important to the Fort Lauderdale Building Department that the exterior of commercial buildings are cleaned, properly painted or stained, and regularly treated.

To preserve a building’s outside appearance, all architectural components such as walls, balconies, windows, and window frames must be made structurally sound. The maintenance laws also prohibit any loose or exposed material on the exterior structure.

To avoid receiving a maintenance code violation in Florida, it is best to fix or replace something as soon as it is damaged. For instance, if the paint on a commercial property is starting to chip, the owner must quickly act to apply a new coat of paint that matches the building’s original color.

2) Door and Window Openings

Entrance into apartmentThe standard of up-keeping a quality exterior structure applies to a commercial property’s windows as well. The expectation set forth by the Fort Lauderdale Building Department is that all doors and windows must be secured, weatherproofed, and maintained unbroken.

Commercial properties with storefront doors and windows facing a public right-of-way (sidewalk, street, highway, etc.) must follow certain guidelines. This includes:

  • Windows must remain clean and in a healthy condition.
  • Broken windows must be fixed or replaced immediately.
  • Windows may not be permanently removed or enclosed.

Commercial properties that do not have storefront doors or windows facing a public right-of-way are also responsible for following similar guidelines. The most notable difference is that windows and frames not facing a public right-of-way can be replaced or enclosed. To pass inspection, windows that are removed must be replaced with materials that match the design of the exterior structure.

3) Landscaping

Florida commercial avenueEnforcing agencies will periodically inspect commercial properties in Fort Lauderdale to assure all yard and landscape area standards are being met. To keep a well-maintained appearance at all times, it can help to regularly mow, weed, and water your lawn.

In addition to normal upkeep, local Florida governments ask that landscape areas do not interfere with the public right-of-way. For example, if a coffee shop is located on a public sidewalk, the tenants are responsible for clearing any yard debris that may obstruct someone from walking on the pavement.

If a business fails to follow these minimum standards for yard and landscape areas in Florida, the owner will be notified. The business property then has 30 calendar days to restore their lawn or they will receive a code violation.

4) Parking

Apartment Parking spacesWhether a commercial property offers on or off-street private parking, there are minimum standards that must be met.

The Fort Lauderdale Building Department asks that on-street private parking structures – such as a carport or garage – be kept in a protected, safe, and appealing state. Parking structures with broken, tarnished, or rusted metal coverings must be fixed right away.

Florida also has expectations for locations with off-street private parking. For example, it is required to identify what parking spaces are reserved for your establishment. This is often made clear by adding a metal sign to each parking space or lot.

Additionally, all off-street parking areas must be surfaced with concrete, dustless material. This helps maintain a safe condition for all vehicles and pedestrians.

Lastly, businesses with off-street public parking must be sure the area is properly sloped for drainage and operate with lighting that does not glare into adjacent properties.

5) Roofs

Aerial shot of commercial areaReplacing or repairing the roof of a commercial property is no small expense. Luckily, the standards set forth by local governments can help extend the lifespan of your roof by keeping it up to code.

Florida is susceptible to natural disasters such as tropical storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. As a result, it is the law to keep roofs of commercial properties in a safe, locked, and waterproofed condition.

Building owners can also be fined if their roof is holding trash or debris. If it is not a purposeful element of the property’s mechanical or electrical system – such as solar panels – it does not belong on your roof and can result in a code violation.

Fighting a Code Violation? Contact Our Experts.

Managing a commercial property can be stressful, especially when presented with a code violation. Rely on our team of fully licensed architects and engineers to do the heavy lifting.

Visit our website or contact us to learn more about our services today!