Q&A Of The Day – Florida’s New Code Enforcement Law Part 2
Bottom Line: Over the years, what I found to be a select few, wished to cause trouble for me and my family. They commonly would anonymously report false code violations on my property which prompted investigations and led to what amounted to regular harassment. In addition to the harassment, there was considerable time wasted by my wife and I in dealing with the false claims along with the stress that goes along with it. At its worst, I captured on camera with audio, a person making false claims to a code enforcement officer which led to my having to get an attorney involved to ensure an end to the abuse.
My situation was specific but not unique. Unfortunately, ill doers in society used the ability to anonymously report code violations as a means of vindictive behavior against those they didn’t like. I’d not spoken of this issue so specifically previously because I didn’t want to give anyone who wasn’t already abusing the law the idea of doing so. The change in the law, where reported code violations must be on the record, aside from “imminent threats” will help prevent abuse of the system. In addition to hardships associated with those who were on the receiving end of false code violation reports, this also took its toll on the code enforcement departments which would commonly spend considerable time investigating false claims, resulting in legitimate issues going unaddressed and commonly creating a rift between local governments and their falsely accused constituents.
Given that you’re a well-intended individual, the me to you on this topic is this. Something much of South Florida could do a better job with is being a good neighbor. With exceptions, many communities are only communities in the sense that we live near each other.In my view, going to a local government to address a concern with a neighbor’s property should be a last resort, as opposed to the first option. While I understand it might not be comfortable to personally address a neighbor with a concern regarding their property, it’s the neighborly thing to do. Additionally, you’re liable to be pleasantly surprised.
I as well have noticed issues from time to time over the years that could constitute potential code violations. In each instance, my wife or I have addressed the neighbor directly. In all instances the neighbors didn’t know the concern was a violation and with the exception of one instance, appreciated our bringing it to their attention lest they have a code violation levied against them. I’m not saying that’s always going to be the case, however you might be pleasantly surprised. And at that point, if a neighbor is indignant, and in the wrong, it wouldn’t be a surprise to them if you did report a code violation on the record.