Residential code violations are more common than you may think – and your home could be vulnerable. Each code situation presents unique and difficult challenges for the owner.
The team at FixMyCodeViolation.com understands Florida building codes, and we want you to as well. That’s why we’ve created a guide for homeowners to know how Florida’s building code violations system works.
1. What is a Code Violation?
If you own a home, apartment, or another residential property in Florida, you should be aware of potential code violations. These often hidden horrors can impact your home’s safety and value.
Local building codes are on the books to ensure Florida’s residential structures are safe inhabitants. Even a small shortcut from a construction or renovation project could have disastrous effects at some point in the future.
Code violations are treated seriously and have the potential to:
- Jeopardize your home’s sale price.
- Result in considerable fines.
- Trigger legal action from local government officials.
Florida’s unique residential code is essential to understand, as both the details and examination areas differ from other states in the U.S. These detailed rules have evolved over time to ensure all structures prove safe in the face of a hurricane or powerful storm that has become the norm for the Sunshine State.
Your property could undergo an inspection either due to a home sale or a lodged complaint by an individual. These individuals could be concerned neighbors, a passerby making a random observation, or a city official conducting random walkarounds. No matter the source of the complaint, if your home has any code violations committed under your watch or not, you are liable for correcting any and all issues.
What Happens When a Code Violation is Issued
In addition to fines, an unsafe structure can be “Placarded” under local building codes’ language. Placarding means to cover a structure with notices, allowing everyone in the vicinity to be aware the structure is unsafe.
This step can result in an embarrassing situation for you and could have disastrous effects on any future attempts on your home’s sale value. Neighbors remember – and they’ll be more than happy to share these types of events with future prospective buyers!
To summarize, unsafe structures pose a threat either to the property itself or the public’s safety (in this case, the residents). If your home ends up labeled as unsafe, you’ll need to deal with the resulting code violations. These infractions need to get fixed promptly – which could mean lots of unexpected expenses for your family!
If you fail to act within that time window to bring your property into accordance with local building codes, your delay will be construed as unwillingness to correct the violation. It is possible this inaction could lead to prosecution by your city’s attorney.
The above outcome is the worst-case scenario, as it will require you to appear at court hearings, hire an attorney, spend extra money on court fees, and tie up your precious time.
Do not Assume Your Home is up to Code.
It is a mistake to automatically assume your home comes labeled as a safe structure under local Florida codes. There is a good chance your residence has at least one minor code violation. Why? With each major storm, Florida updates it’s building rules, establishing stringent criteria for the labeling “safe” residential structures.
Though it is awfully tempting to ignore potential code violations, doing so is a mistake. The government will find out. It’s only a matter of time! Though brand new homes are likely up to code, there is a good chance an older home is not in full accordance with building codes.
Have a code expert conduct a thorough walkthrough of your home – especially if you’re planning to sell soon. The failure to ensure a residential structure meets local codes can prevent a sale, dramatically reduce your asking price, or even trigger considerable fines. It is also possible that the town or city will put a lien on the property until it is in full accordance with local building codes.
Bring your home into full accordance with local codes, and you will have done your part to minimize risk for both your family and future residents.
2. Common Commercial Code Violations
If you were to read over every single word of Florida’s building code, you would find an incredible amount of detail. These exhaustive regulations result from living in a storm-prone state. The bottom line is nearly every local residential building likely has at least one code violation.
Plenty of homes have multiple code violations – in areas you’d least expect. Aside from creating the potential for hurdles in the selling process, fines, and even legal action from the city, code violations are problematic in that they pose a threat to the health and well-being of everyone living inside the structure.
Even a slight oversight from a building contractor can render a structure unsafe. Weekend building warriors or renovation projects completed by unlicensed family members are also common culprits for code violations. Some of the most common areas flagged for violations include:
Perhaps you recently added to your home’s size – a new dining room or an efficiency space for an elderly parent. Any property additions require an issued permit and drawings to be in full accordance with the law. Even construction modifications require approval before implementation.
Window and Door Replacements
Window, door permits, and storm shutter permits are some of Florida’s most common local code violations. Whenever one of these items is replaced or retrofitted in residential structures, official permission must occur beforehand.
The permit’s purpose is to guarantee a suitable anchor is installed, load calculations are correctly calculated, and the new window can endure pressure from the opening. Similar licenses exist for shutters and doors.
Though many homeowners are unaware, Florida has Energy Calculations and Heat-load calculations standards to ensure HVAC replacements are entirely legal. It is quite possible your home’s A/C changeout was not conducted properly, rendering it in violation of local building codes.
Other Common Culprits
Additional common residential building code violations include:
- Faulty electrical work.
- Improper fan venting.
- An incorrect connection of deck ledgers to houses.
- Installing a fence of the wrong height.
- Failing to test aged materials for lead or asbestos.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are seemingly countless other ways in which your home or other residential building might be in violation of local building codes. When in doubt, lean on building code experts for invaluable insight and repairs that hold steady as time progresses.
A Note About Permit Expirations
Suppose you obtained permits before undertaking these projects, congratulations! Keep in mind, though. These permits have the potential to expire. If the license in question lapses, it must be reopened to prevent fines or to delay any future sale of the home.
Along with the Florida Bar, Florida Realtors added permit search requirements to the standard sales contracts in the early 2000s. The logic of this move was to prevent buyers from unknowingly purchasing any property with a code violation.
3. How to Fix a Code Violation
If your residential property has one or more building code violations, you have quite the project on your hands!. Getting a residential property into full compliance with local building codes is easier said than done.
The building code bureaucracy is a complicated and frustrating process requiring considerable time, effort, and money on your part…unless you partner with professional building code experts.
In other words, fixing a code violation is not a DIY (do it yourself) project. Alternatively, do nothing after learning of your code violation, and you will end up with a considerable fine, potential lien, a lawsuit, or be forced to vacate the structure.
Dealing With the Issue On Your Own
If you DO decide to deal with the issue on your own, you can expect:
Spending exhaustive research time vonline to identify your code compliance issue & discover the steps needed to resolve it correctly.
Spending hours on hold with your town or city’s building inspection office to confirm your online research is indeed what you need to do.
Interview and meet with multiple building contractors, negotiating price, and making sure they have the experience to fix your home’s issue by the city’s imposed deadline.
Spend MORE Time on hold to schedule a follow-up inspection once work finishes.
If your deadline to deal with the issue has passed for whatever reason, you’ll need to attend an in-person hearing with your local enforcement board. If the board issues a fine, you’ll need to pay it by a specific date (or the local government may record the outstanding balance in public records for everyone to see).
If you don’t have the funds to pay the fine, the local government may foreclose your home or sue to recover any unpaid fines – plus accrued interest.
The moral of this story? It is in your interest to lean on certified, experienced professionals to handle this confusing and potentially expensive process. Suppose you partner with the right group of code experts. In that case, you can expect a timely and thorough appeal, repair, and re-inspection process, all without you dealing with the migraine inducing steps listed nuances of local building codes.
4. How We Can Help
Florida building codes are inherently complicated. Repairing a home, so it is in full compliance with local building codes, is not the type of weekend project you should handle on your own. Instead, rely on Fix My Code Violation to get the job done right on the first try.
Our expert team will handle the entirety of your code violation issue, on your behalf, in a step-by-step, thorough manner. We ensure total property compliance with the peculiarities of local Florida building codes.
Our architects and general contractors made the Decoder to address residential code violations on behalf of locals. We provide one-stop-shopping for code violation rectification.
Our services include:
- Drawing permitting plans.
- Closing the permit.
- Performing the necessary repairs.
- Ultimately providing invaluable peace of mind knowing the code violation has been addressed in a thorough and lasting manner.
We have more than four decades of combined experience between our engineers and more than three decades of experience between our contractors, electricians, and plumbers.
The Power of the “Decoder”
Tap into the power of our “Decoder,” a complete system to resolve all issues related to local code requirements. Here’s how it works:
We’ll begin a discovery process to gather information about the code violation and begin analysis. We provide in-office consultations to gauge the situation to pinpoint the optimal solution for your specific case.
Our architects will assemble an action plan and present it to your local Building Department. This step is to let the city know that we’ve started to bring the property into compliance. Generally, this will stop the fines from incurring.
Our team then visits the Building Department to retrieve the property’s complete history so we can provide a genuinely accurate service. Our engineers and architects formulate a completed building plan to ensure your property will meet all local laws pertaining to building codes. We’ll also present it to your local administrators so you can keep that suit in the closet.
Once the city approves the plans, we obtain a building permit and help you begin renovations. As a licensed general contractor, we can handle all the work in-house!
We schedule a follow-up inspection with the local powers once work is complete. Our team is there every step of the way as this process unfolds.
Finally, there is the closeout after the mandated checks have been issued. Our team meets with the Building Department to obtain the proof necessary to show the case is closed out.
We fight the city on code violations every day, and we don’t stop till we win. We have saved so many people, so much money, and we are confident we can help with whatever problem you may have. If the city has come after you, let us fight for you. Get in touch for a consultation and STOP THE FINES TODAY!