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News about code enforcement

Chronic Nuisance Code Inspection Fees?

Posted by admin On February 12th

I am the chronic nuisance officer for the City of West Palm Beach and I am hoping you can help me.  I am trying to adapt a re-inspection fee schedule to use for owner occupied properties that do not comply.

(Our Chronic nuisance ordinance does not fall under the typical FSS-162 daily fines)

I am wondering if any city in Florida  charges a fee for each re-inspections in situations like these.  I have been looking in Municode and also making phone calls, and have come up empty so far.   Does  Florida not ever allow fees for code inspections?

I mean there seems to be fees for everything else and these seem like an excessive use of resources above the traditional levels of enforcement paid for by the taxpayers we serve.

Laura M. Borso

Chronic Nuisance Officer

6 Responses

  1. Gail Gilchrist Says:

    For non-compliance inspections where we have our contractor mow or clean the property we charge $25 per visit. For inspections where a Notice to Appear (Citation) is written and the defendant appears at our Special Master Hearing, we charge $35 per visit if we prevail and get a guilty verdict. We also charge for mailing costs, $60 for our attorney’s time and of course, the fine is also assessed. These fees have been around for years and I’m not sure how they were calculated.

    Posted on February 12th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

  2. admin Says:

    I offer the following:
    1. I believe the law is well settled that a city/county cannot charge a fee for inspections/re-inspections since that is generally viewed as a cost of doing (code enforcement) business.
    2. A cost for labor and materials can generally be charged to a property owner for securing a property (boarding up; fencing) or for remedying a violation in the interest of public safety (pumping out a green, scummy swimming pool ; plugging a sewer pipe discharging raw sewage). In such cases, I usually recommend using a private contractor whose bill will be the amount charged to the property owner; this will prevent a claim that the city/county “padded the bill” for using its own supplies and personnel.

    Since Chap. 162 puts the primary burden on a property owner for maintaining the property (and not on the city/county), it is that property who should bear the costs referenced in 2. above!

    May I also suggest that for a true “chronic” violator, the city/county could bring a nuisance action in circuit court and ask for injunctive relief (mandatory–to do a specific action or prohibitory-to refrain from doing some action). If an injunction is issued and the property owner violates it, he/she is now dealing with a circuit judge on a contempt of court citation (and not a local code enforcement office or board). It’s amazing how an owner’s attitude might change!

    Hope this is of assistance. Bob Hamilton, FACE Legal Counsel

    Posted on February 18th, 2014 at 8:59 am

  3. Adjacent jurisdiction Says:

    I agree with admin – FSS 162 does not set forth any type of inspection fee for Code Enforcement. We have also been advised that we cannot charge for inspector’s “time” worked on cases when calculating our case prosecution costs. It’s true, we’re still quite under valued, in may ways, and under equipped to do what is asked/expected of us. Why we do this, some days I can’t begin to understand but- we continue to go forth and do good things for our communities- Fight the Good Fight my friends!

    Posted on February 19th, 2014 at 8:54 am

  4. Elizabeth Hearn Says:

    Agree, F.S. 162 does not set forth an type of inspection for code enforcement but it does state:
    162.09 Administrative fines; costs of repair; liens.(2)(d) In addition to such fines, a code enforcement board or special magistrate may impose additional fines to cover all costs incurred by the local government in enforcing its codes and all costs of repairs pursuant to subsection (1).
    So, does this excerpt give us the right to charge a re-inspection fee?

    Posted on March 4th, 2014 at 10:13 am

  5. Dave Whitty Says:

    Laura, check out the City of Apopka’s Municipal Code in Municode. (Chapter 42, Article II). If it’s not there, please let me know. Thanks!

    Dave Whitty, CEP
    City of Apopka CE Officer

    Posted on May 16th, 2014 at 10:03 am

  6. lily Says:

    Can anyone provide any advise regarding noise nuisance by neighbor using machines of industrial nature and making horrific noise on our street. Sounds like a construction area and can be heard from 5 houses away and these are 1 acre homes. Code enforcement refuses to help me.

    Posted on February 29th, 2016 at 4:09 pm

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