(WSVN) - Code enforcement suspected a property owner had created a small rental apartment in his backyard, but when they went to inspect, the owner didn’t let them in. Does that mean code enforcement cannot cite them for the work? It’s why we bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser for the answer.
When you have a newborn, you learn about a lot of things. One of them involves sleep.
Lindsey Clark, noise next door: “They say sleep when they sleep, because you are not going to get sleep at night.”
Fortunately, Lindsey’s cute little guy is now sleeping through the night. She and her husband, though, are not.
Lindsey Clark: “That’s the ironic part. You would think the baby would be what keeps me up, but instead it’s my neighbor waking up in the middle of the night.”
Late last year, the townhouse next to Lindsey was sold.
Lindsey Clark: “New neighbors moved in. They started construction.”
According to county records, the neighbor enclosed a terrace, put in a window and a door, and a renter used that door as a private entrance to the small attachment.
Lindsey Clark:” He moved in through the back side instead of using the front side of the house like most people would.”
The new efficiency is right beside Lindsay and her husband’s bedroom, and the renter is not a quiet one.
Lindsey Clark: “First we were hearing snoring. He decided to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and watch TV. Furniture moving around, the chairs screeching on the floor. There’s too much noise in our master bedroom.”
Lindsay tried to talk to the owner of the townhouse. He ignored her.
The association said they couldn’t do anything.
County code enforcement then came out and left a note asking to inspect the property since no one would let them inside.
Lindsey Clark: “And I spoke to them and I asked them, ‘What is going to happen?’ ‘Well if they don’t let us inside, there’s not much that we can do,’ and yet it seems like although it’s illegal, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”
Leaving Lindsay and her husband frustrated, fuming and sleepless.
Lindsey Clark: “I feel upset. We just want a resolution to this. We want sleep.”
Can you stop code enforcement from inspecting a house by not letting them on your property? Your turn, Howard.
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “If you own the property and live there, you can refuse to allow code enforcement into your home. And if they cannot see what they believe is a violation from outside, and cannot prove the violation, they cannot charge you. However, if it’s a rental, and code enforcement is not allowed in, they can get what’s called an inspection warrant. And if you still refuse to let them in, you can go to jail.”
We contacted Miami-Dade County. They told us the property owner agreed to let them in but wanted them to wait a few days before they could inspect the place.
During that time, Lindsay said, construction workers showed up, and she said there was work being done inside the efficiency.
The owner then let code enforcement in.
If he was trying to take apart what had been done, it did not work.
The county cited the owner for work done without a permit for several things, for enclosing an existing terrace, for adding an exterior door, window and electrical outlets. Plus, he was cited for building a detached storage shed.
Now the owner has to correct that or face fines.
Lindsey Clark: “We are sleeping probably 110 percent better than we were before.”
Lindsey and her husband are now literally sleeping like their baby.
Lindsey Clark: “I’m really glad I called Help Me Howard. They gave me so much good information and advice that I could not find online or anywhere else.”
I never knew you could stop code enforcement from coming into your home to potentially block them from citing you. I’ve been doing Help Me Howard for 20 years and still learn something new every day.
Constructed a problem that’s left you crying like a baby? Don’t lose sleep over it. Open the door and let us move in, because we work with efficiency. Legally, of course.
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