Code Violations – What You Should Know
We all see the code enforcement trucks roaming our neighborhoods, slowly. Local harbingers of doom bringing notices of code violations. You may peek out your windows and wonder if your property is going to be marked with the yellow tag of bureaucratic nightmares.
Here are a few things you should know before, or after, you meet a Code Enforcement Officer:
Code Enforcement Officers are not looking for violations.
- CE Officers are akin to the police, fire and EMS. They need to be called by a member of the community to investigate a potential code violation. There is one exception to that rule; if a code enforcement officer witnesses a violation that is endangering life and safety they will speak to the homeowner and possible file a Notice of Violation. But in most cases, if a Code Officer knocks on your door it is because a fellow citizen alerted them to a potential violation on your property.
Code Enforcement Officers don’t want to ruin your day.
- Most officers are sympathetic to a homeowner’s situation. It’s their job to help you understand what steps are next for you in the process of clearing any code violations for which you’ve been cited. Sometimes the violation is as easy as relocating your travel trailer to the back yard or adding a railing to a deck. Other times more effort may be required. In the case of structures built without a permit or a structure needing repair/rebuild you will need permits.
Code Enforcement Officers are not zoning reviewers.
- When a violation is issued most homeowners want answers and a plan. If your violation is one that cannot be corrected while the officer is present you may need to acquire permits. As stated earlier, Code Enforcement Officers are connected to police/fire/EMS so they do not work with the Planning, Review and Development department. Code officers may not appreciate the complexities of review and permitting and may sometimes offer overconfident estimates on how easy or fast it may be to resolve your issue.
Code Enforcement Officers just want you to stay in touch.
- A code case is kept open until all issues are resolved or you have permits in place. Stay in touch with your officer on at least a monthly basis. They need to keep your file updated. Letting them know exactly where you are in the process will help prevent fines and hearings.
Code Enforcement Officers know when you’re lying.
- So don’t. It’s annoying and insulting. They want to work with you. Keep it honest and promote a good working relationship. It will be well worth it in the long run.
If you receive a Notice of Violation and you, or your code officer, aren’t sure of the next steps call CleanTag and we’ll make sense of it all.