Can Code Compliance Liens be Reduced or Waived?

Code enforcement liens are issued by code enforcement officers when a citation is needed to make someone aware of a civil infraction. These infractions are usually for local code violations, and they are followed by a judicial process that is carried out to enforce the code that has been neglected or violated. Code compliance is required to make sure that properties and neighborhoods are safe and well-maintained.

In Florida, code compliance orders can impose fines and can also cause a lien to be placed against a property until the owner complies with the code. There are some ways that these liens can be reduced or waived, but they require legal support in most cases to be modified in this way. Resolution 21-1576 in the state of Florida does allow for modification of these liens in specific cases.

The team at Lopez Law Group can help you with your code compliance lien and work with you to seek a reduction of this lien or to have the lien waived. You will need to work with a skilled lawyer to seek this kind of outcome for your lien, and we can offer you the support that you need when you need to address a code compliance lien.

What Are the Factors That Allow for a Lien Reduction?

There are various reasons that your lien might be reduced or even waived, but your situation will need to meet certain criteria to be eligible to seek this redress for the lien situation. The team at Lopez Law Group is familiar with this kind of process, but you cannot ask for forgiveness or reduction if you do not meet the requirements of the program that offers these modifications to your lien.

1.       Property Must Meet Code

Whatever the code violation was that led to the lien, the issue needs to be addressed before you can apply for a lien reduction or to have the lien waived. This is the first and most critical of the factors that are necessary to qualify for an alteration to the lien that you have against your property. If the property does not yet meet code, there will need to be a well-crafted plan in place to resolve the issue that led to the code compliance problem.

2.       Lien Value and Lien Type

The lien value will have to be at a minimum $5,000. This must also have been in place for at least a year before you can apply for forgiveness or other modification. The only type of lien that will be considered for this program is one that is for code compliance as well. You cannot use this program for the forgiveness of other liens. Trying to lump together other liens into this forgiveness process will not be allowed.

3.       No Other Code Violations

Anyone applying for lien reductions cannot have other code violations against them on other properties in Florida. You can sometimes apply for a reduction lien on all of the properties that are involved at the same time, but this will not always be available to everyone in the state of Florida. The more code violations that someone has in the state of Florida, the less likely it will be that any of these liens will be modified or forgiven.

4.       The Forgiveness Program Can Only be Used Once

This forgiveness process can only be used once per property. If you have already accessed this benefit for the property in question, you cannot access it again if you find yourself with another lien. A new owner of the property can access the program’s benefits, but the original owner, who has had a lien placed against them, cannot.

5.       Pay All Application Fees and Charges

There are usually various fees and charges that must be paid in order to have this application for lien reduction or forgiveness considered. Be sure that you are caught up on the payments that are associated with getting to access the benefits of this program.

Some other things to consider are as follows:

  •         The likelihood of forgiveness will depend in part upon the severity of the danger that those around the property were placed in as a result of the code violation. More minor offenses will be much more likely to be forgiven than actions and neglect that led to a public safety risk.
  •         The code violation cannot be a repeat of similar actions taken on the part of the person applying for the lien forgiveness, even if the original offense happened in relation to another property. It is quite unlikely to be able to argue successfully for forgiveness when you have been the perpetrator of similar code violations on other properties in the past.
  •         When the code violation is done by a renter rather than the property owner, there might be other actions taken against the property owner as well. The nature of the violation can impact the degree to which the property owner is involved in the lien process, and it can also impact the forgiveness process for the violation.
  •         Lien forgiveness is only done with a well-stated and easily-executed plan to address and improve the situation that led to the violation.

Can a Code Compliance Lien Survive a Foreclosure?

Yes, code compliance liens can survive foreclosure sales. This is not something that applies in every case,  but that is why it is so important to research the lien encumbrances on a property that you are considering buying. This is a bad surprise that can crop up when someone picks up a house to repair and sell, and it can lead to an inability to modify, improve, or sell the property until the lien has been cleared. Liens are often ranked in importance depending on the severity of the lien, the entity which has placed the lien on the property, and the issue that it is related to.

If you are looking at buying a property with a code compliance lien in place, you will need to seek the support of a skilled legal team before you make a move to buy the property. There are some kinds of liens that are very difficult to address as a new owner of the property, and you should be aware of the full scope of the lien before you purchase the property and find yourself in the position of resolving it.

When the foreclosing entity is the property owner, then the lien will be extinguished with the sale. This will not change the fact that the code violation must be addressed, however. Things that create an issue related to public safety will need to be addressed immediately upon taking ownership of the property, or there will be consequences for the new owner of the property, just like the old owner.

Code compliance liens are done in the interest of public safety and are not meant to hinder the ability of someone to take possession of a property or to live on it peacefully. Those who are not able or are not willing to address safety concerns that are caused by code violations are creating a situation of danger for their community and people who visit their property. This is the essential thing that people in violation of these laws need to remember when seeking to address the lien that has been placed on their property. There must be adequate action taken to address the issue, or there will be no forgiveness for the lien.

Homeowners’ liens might have their own process that must be followed per the guidelines within the HOA guidelines. This is another area where a lawyer can be a big help to you if you are taking over property or buying it, and this kind of lien is in place for a violation. Homeowner’s association loans can be thorny to manage, just like county code violations that have led to compliance loans. Navigating this process on your own can be impossible, and securing skilled legal guidance can make a big impact on the lien satisfaction process.

Seeking Skilled Legal Support is Critical

If you have a code compliance lien against your property, you should make sure that you get access to skilled legal support to resolve the lien or to seek forgiveness for it. This is a complex process that requires correct steps to be taken in order for the lien to be satisfied. Skilled legal actions are needed to make modifications to the liens that are in place or to seek forgiveness for the lien.

Legal support is important for this process, and you cannot seek redress of these liens without this kind of help. Make sure that you choose a lawyer who is skilled in this kind of lien and aware of the process that is needed to satisfy or modify these lien processes. The team at Lopez Law has years of experience in this area, and they can help you to resolve the code compliance lien that is impacting your property.