Can Code Enforcement take my home?
Each county and city has regulations on how to maintain your property. These regulations often include rules about clutter, broken vehicles, and overgrown lawns.
Each county or city has a Code Enforcement department that enforces these regulations. Code Enforcement is often willing to work with you to allow you enough time to fix violations.
You should communicate with Code Enforcement about your efforts to correct the alleged violations. If violations are not corrected, you will have to appear before a magistrate. A magistrate is like a judge who will decide if a violation took place. If the magistrate finds a violation exists, they may give you more time to fix the problem.
If the problem is still not fixed, the county will start charging you fines. If you do not pay the fines, the county can put a lien (a debt) against your property. A lien will make it impossible to sell the home until the debt is paid or discharged. Code Enforcement also has the right to foreclose on your property (take your property) if you do not pay the fines. Practices differ county by county, and your county may choose not to foreclose.
Once you fix the violations, Code Enforcement may choose to work with you. They may accept less than the full amount of the debt and remove the lien. You should act quickly to limit the consequences because fees and fines will increase over time.
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If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.