Code Compliance Questions
A – The Division caseload is generated in one of two methods. Responding to citizen complaints is a first priority. In addition, the code officers periodically tour residential communities performing Neighborhood Improvement Inspections.
A - A Neighborhood Improvement Inspection is a pro-active, department generated inspection. The code officer will inspect each property to determine if there is any violation of a Wellington Regulation. Approximately 75-80% of our total cases are a result of the pro-active efforts of the code officer.
A – Not unless invited onto the property by the property owner or tenant. As a general rule, inspections must be performed from a public right-of-way or easement. In some cases however, a neighboring property owner may give permission to enter onto their property to observe your property.
A - If a violation is noted, a first or courtesy notice will be given to the property owner of record, and in some cases the tenant, to advise them of the problem(s). The notice may be in the form of a letter sent to the property owner, or it may be in the form of a “door hanger” left at the front door of the home. A property owner is given a period of time to correct a violation, usually three to thirty days.
A – No, it is provided primarily as a courtesy to the property owner. The code officer may choose to send a case directly to the Special Magistrate without providing the first courtesy notice if there is a life safety violation, if a nuisance has been declared, or if there is a repetitive history for the property or owner. In that case, a Notice of Violation/Notice of Hearing will be sent to the property owner notifying them of the violation and Special Magistrate hearing date.
A – Take prompt action to correct the violation. If you are not sure what needs to be corrected, how to correct it or, if you are working toward correcting the violation, but need additional time due to special circumstances, it is important that you call the code officer to discuss your issues. In most cases additional time will be given if the individual circumstances warrant such an extension.
A - If the violation is not corrected, you will be served with a Notice of Hearing requiring your appearance before the Special Magistrate. The Special Magistrate can assess fines up to $250.00 per day for each day the violation continues to exist.
A – The Special Magistrate will issue an Order based upon the testimony provided at the hearing and will direct that the violation be corrected within a specified period of time. Fines and liens may be placed against a property as a result of any enforcement action, whether or not the property owner is present at the hearing.
A - In most cases the costs that the Code Compliance Division incur in the prosecution of a case to the Special Magistrate will be assessed against the property owner at the hearing. A lien will be filed if the costs are not paid within the time frame given by the Special Magistrate. These costs are typically not less than $175.00 but in some cases have been as much as $600.00. Actual per day fines will be certified by the Special Magistrate if the violation is not corrected by the time specified in the Order. These per day fines will continue to accrue until a violation is corrected and the Code Compliance Division is notified of the correction. These fines can accumulate into many thousands of dollars and are filed as a lien against the property.
A – No. The lien will attach to all properties owned by the property owner in Palm Beach County.
A – Yes. Per Florida Statute Chapter 162, an appeal of a decision by the Special Magistrate must be filed to the Circuit Court within 30 days of the date of the Order.
A – No. Based on Florida Statute Chapter 162, an appeal is only to the Circuit Court.
A – Yes. Except for homestead property, Florida Statute Chapter 162 provides that liens which remain unpaid for a period of 3 months may be foreclosed upon. The city would prefer to avoid such extreme consequences where possible.
A – If a nuisance or life safety violation exists, Wellington may correct the violation. Three examples of when Wellington may consider correcting the violation is an overgrown lot, an unsecured swimming pool or an unsecured building providing an attractive nuisance. If Wellington does correct the violation, liens are placed against the property for the costs associated with the correction.