Florida Code Enforcement Reform

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Florida Code Enforcement Reform

I have been working with a group of concerned citizens that feel the abuse of Code Enforcement authority has lead to the violation of personal property rights and an infringement on a persons liberties. We have created a draft bill to address these concerns.

Please take a few minutes to read the draft and comment. Your comments may directly affect the final product. At some point during this Legislative session the Local and Military Affairs committee will be work shopping this draft bill. It is my hope that we will be able to draft a strong reform bill that will become law next year.

Please take some time, read and comment about this proposed legislation.

Thank You,
Ritch Workman
Chairman, Local and Military Affairs Committee

Click here to open the Draft Legislation in PDF format:

Draft Code Enforcement Reform Bill

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19 Comments

  1. johnfromfl

    March 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

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    We are loosing our rights every day. Code Enforcement infringes on our rights by using extortion to gain money from the private citizen. They do not get a search warrant to trespass on property. They extort money by high fines. They also add days to the time to remove what they consider violations by not sending a citation or notice of violations for 14-17 days and charging fines for those days.
    They violate the Constitution of the U.S. and Florida by forcing government intrusion on our freedoms. They also interpret Florida Statute 162 to their advantage. The Code Enforcement goes after innocent land owners and tries to force money by extortion when the property owner is innocent of charges.

    This is what I have experienced. There is more but am keeping it short for the time being. When the abuse is reported to the authorities, It is ignored. Something must be done and done soon to stop the abuse.

    John

    Titusville

    Comments are closed

  2. Anderson

    March 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

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    Every citizen of the State of Florida should pay attention to what is going on. Because many folks never get involved until they themselves become a victim of illegal and overzealous code enforcement. This country was founded on the principles set forth in our constitution and it is every Americans duty to help enforce the constitution and not let runaway local governments abridge those freedoms.

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    • johnfromfl

      March 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm

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      Very well stated!!!!! Many people never read the laws and are left to the governmental wolves to become victims of over zealous government officials.

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  3. sovereign007

    March 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm

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    First the govt does NOT have any authority to tax or make laws over me or my brethren
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngpsJKQR_ZE

    So why would I beg for another change in code ?
    I am not anyone’s slave.

    If we are going to try to amend …
    State that Common Law trumps all statute and code except for those who specifically want to depend on the govt and and want to be a slave for the govt.

    State that any controversy not settled amicably can be brought to a grand jury by any citizen born in this country., thus bypassing the kangaroo magistrate courts and the cabal appellate courts.

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  4. Renee K

    March 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm

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    Code Enforcement in FL is a “legal” way for neighbors to use their City officials to harass minorities and other “undesirables” into moving.

    In my family’s case, the Code Officer cited us on the day we moved into our house, telling us that this was a “message” because he knows that large families make a lot of garbage and that this would not be tolerated in Hollywood.

    After that we were cited for keeping poultry despite the fact that another resident in Hollywood Hills who coincidentally happened to be white was cited for having feces running down his driveway but was still permitted to keep his 40 birds which the city acknowledged were being raised for sale as meat.

    Then a complaint was entered over our garden which is a traditional Moroccan style xerioscape. This was closed after the FL DEP got involved. (It is against FL Statutes to cite a homeowner for Florida Friendly Landscaping).

    We currently have 135k lien against our homesteaded property which caused us to be unable to refinance recently. We filed in County court a declaration of Homestead since the FL Constitution makes it illegal to cloud a Homestead title.

    Our story is on the FACEOFF blog, but suffice to say that City of Hollywood’s Code Enforcement’s willingness to harass and persecute us on behalf of our neighbors has also empowered our neighbors to call the police on us 40 times (all unfounded complaints) the Board of health (4 times, all unfounded), Child Protection (unfounded) and to file two lawsuits against us claiming that our children and their normal behavior is a nuisance to the neighbors.

    Comments are closed

  5. gillard77

    March 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm

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    This legislation is VERY important. SO MANY municipalities and counties have taken it upon themselves to act not only as ersatz ‘Homeowners Associations’ (which are none of their business to act as) but to become bullies and thieves of the common man, those they’re charged with, BY THOSE VERY PEOPLE, to help, not harm. They’re a bunch of authoritarian zealots with self-interested goals, the least of which are liberty and justice. This legislation will help redeem for ‘the people’ the true intent and purpose of this country’s founders, freedom and liberty for man, and restore to them, not only what they see as their birthright as Americans but also their sense of belonging, fair play and honor that they’ve lost as a result of this nonsense. That their RIGHT to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness will be treated with the respect and consideration DUE them, that which should be accorded them without the haranguing niggling punitive ego of bored, rapacious county and city officials.
    The passage of this bill would cease another quiet strangulating encroachment of individuals rights that are so insidiously prevalent beneath common everyday life in this country today, wittingly unleashed for the authoritarian rule of those that would enslave his fellow man for his own gain.
    God bless Mr. Workman for the good work that he has been tasked to do.

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  6. hip_diva_chick

    March 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

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    As someone who has had her entire life upset by Code Enforcement and their terrorist tactics, this bill will go a long way in protecting the average person who just wants to live on their property, doesn’t bother a soul and enjoy sitting out in their yard under their trees. My health and sanity may never recover from what they put me through and do this day, I am still paranoid if I think I hear a car coming down the driveway. Let this bill be the voice of all those who are still too afraid to come forward and talk about the ABUSE.

    Comments are closed

  7. rebootit

    March 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm

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    We spent 3 years and thousands of dollars fighting code enforcement over a hedge that they demanded be no more than 6 feet tall. Reason, aesthetics. No public safety, no danger, nothing. Just we say so and you will comply. They placed 3 illegal liens on our homestead property. They spend 100′s of thousands with several attorneys and multiple times in court fighting us. When one case was dismissed they would cite again and start all over. It was plain stupidity. They finally got a judge to tell us to comply. So we cut the bottom six feet of branches off the hedge and called it tall trees. Then put a 6 ft. privacy fence in front of what was left with a picture of the hedge and called it art. Oh, and paid a $60.00 court costs fine. So they accomplished nothing, except look like fools.

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  8. andrewbsheets

    March 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

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    the code nazis r soooooooooooooooo out of control,that a house i was looking at buying in north port fl,had a 16 grand fine on it it 4 not having the house numbers on the house,even though the house numbers where on the mailbox out by the roaddddd,the house i was going 2 buy was only 11grand,the city of north port should b absolutely ashameddddddddddddd of themselves for this unamerikan act,
    and on top of that,theyve been giving some breaks on the outrages fines,but when it came to the fannie mae home,witch they new was the government,they only came down half,and charged r government 8grand on the fine so the government could sell the house 2 get it off the books ,,but yet just the week before they almost totaly thru out a fine that a private party had.
    so we the tax payers of fannie mae got screwed againnnnnn
    heres the vid of me fighting it in a publik hearing,u wil not believe wat the komie komisioners say,and the city atorney has got the city by the balls
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBy-vUb1dLY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo6IVIBi0GA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRR3PKc_GMU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxidr8WJeTA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_j-as4Ix74

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  9. mcpbfl

    March 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm

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    If it doesn’t endanger public health or safety code enforcement should not have any authority.

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  10. bobm

    March 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm

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    First, We need to understand what the envolvement of Code Enforcement curtails. We have generations of lands that are evolving (or should I say morphing) into something that the
    “elected officials deem as sustainable development”.
    The United States Government let monies, known as redevelopment allocations, to Cities to help the poor and indigent folks of America, through tax dollars of cource, bring their properties up to code. Where did the redevelopment Go?

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  11. bobm

    March 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm

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    PartII:
    Normaly, cities would use the monies given to them to redevelop areas in the poorest parts of their cities to bring them out of blighted areas (code enforcement lingo). Normally cities would do this. Unfortunately, some cities used this money to build Whitehouse like structures to impress its constituents.Thus, here lies the problem: What did they do with the allocated money?

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  12. bobm

    March 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm

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    Part III:
    When I was younger, a couple of years ago. The people that were in charge of health and safety were the first responders, the fire department. These were the guys that were there to help save lives. ” Health and Safety” they would come to business’, neighborhoods, and empty fields to inspect any dangers that might be lurking. How did we elevate to a bunch of bureaucrats that want to sieze property and sell it to the highest bidder?

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  13. Francis

    March 5, 2011 at 7:51 am

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    This revision is just common sense. Why has the law been allowed to stand so long stacked against property rights? I suspect the answer is political (patronage) in nature.

    I do have one suggestion. Delete the word “unconstitutional” on the top of page 21 in this phrase: “…harassment based upon unconstitutionally vague or overly…”. Why, the word may allow too much constraint on the remainder of the phrase.

    Thank you for creating this potential change!

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  14. PennyC

    March 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

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    The bill is a good start to restoring the property rights we have let slip away. Our State constitution should NOT enable Home Rule Charters to establish administrative policies and laws that usurp our constitutional and God given rights to own and use property. Over the last year I have seen good hard working homeowners and business owners fall victim to code enforcement policies for the following reasons:
    - vindictive neighbors
    - people and organizations seeking to acquire anothers property
    - code enforcement harassment and coercion for the sake of compliance to administrative laws and policies established for aesthetics dictated by comprehensive land plans and planners
    - code enforcement acting as police to start criminal investigations
    - code enforcement harassment leading to the arrests and imprisonment of citizens defending their property
    - faulty permitting and refusal to permit by building departments
    - code and zoning changes that devalue property by changing how a property can be used
    - excessive fines
    - unwanted demolition of private property in CRAs where owner intended to make repairs
    - property in a CRA scheduled for demolition by CE surrendered “willingly” to Habitat for Humanity
    - foreclosure on properties with code enforcement liens
    - EPA and DERM regulations limiting use of land and forced land aquisitions
    - code enforcement trespass, window peeking, telescoping, and violation stacking upon re-inspection
    - threats made to close businesses by code enforcement due to off-duty and on-duty personal conflict

    In Brevard County to appear before the magistrate it will cost $350 to appear before the special magistrate, an admission of guilt, and $500 to contest. Both are non-refundable whether you are found ans use guilty or not.

    Someone being tried in a criminal trial has more rights than a person being tried for a code violation which is not a criminal crime. A person being tried as a criminal is allowed to know their accuser and given representation, a code victim is not afforded either.

    Returning code enforcement cases to the civil court system would be a return to fair and equal justice.

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  15. PennyC

    March 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

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    The reform to Florida Statues Chapter 162 is necessary to restore individual property rights that have been eroded over the years for subjective ideologies such as aesthetics, and quaility-of-life.

    Over the past year I have seen code enforcement devastate hardworking homeowners. Homeowners have lost tangible property, real property, self-esteem, retirements, lives, and family heritage due to enforcement of laws mandated by comprehensive land plans, loose eminent domain rulings, faulty permitting, lack of grandfathering and excessive fines that enable government agencies to bypass our constitutional and God given right to own and use their property to meet their needs.

    Health and safety should be as far as code enforcement is allowed to go; without coercion, harassment and excessive fines.

    The needs of one individual are different than those of another, it is NOT one mans place to dictate to another how his property is improved and used.

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  16. gclaiborne

    March 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm

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    You should get rid of all ‘unlawful’ retroactive requirements of the ‘aledgedly adopted’ fire protection code of the state of Florida. Since when do the courts (constitution) sit by while retroactive legislation is adopted by a single person, the State Insurance Official.

    Having an insurance/financial officer of the state in charge of the fire-prevention code is really a ‘conflict of interest’ and should be eliminated immediatelyl.

    The FL fire prevention code is ‘another’ bulilding code! 75% of its provisions are in the FL building code…why does FL have two building codes??? It’s rediculous. Get the fire service out of code enforcement…and into ‘fire service’.

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  17. PennyC

    March 15, 2011 at 8:58 am

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    The boards and the magistrate are not elected they are appointed and making decisions on penalties inflicted on citizens. Could we add that all quasi judicial boards be elected by the people every 2 years with staggered terms and/or that the CE victims are provided a public defender? After all the Counties and municipalities are provided legal counsel to prosecute code victims.

    When charged with a criminal case the accused is offered counsel but in CE, non-criminal cases, you get no legal defense, what-so-ever.

    Also, when code decisions are made by quasi judicial boards, citizens should be able to appeal these decisions before the city councils and county commissions. This is NOT allowed in all cities.

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