The Code Enforcement Process
The following is a general description of processes and documents involved in the enforcement of various codes and ordinances. This process is in accordance with Chapter 162 of Florida Statutes and the City of Wilton Manors Code of Ordinances. The following does not describe alternative methods and procedures that may be used in enforcement of various codes and ordinances.
Registering a complaint
As of July 1, 2021, Code Compliance Officers in Florida can no longer investigate anonymous complaints. Under the new Florida law, all tipsters making a complaint must leave at minimum their name and address, otherwise, code compliance departments cannot investigate. However, we do encourage everyone to submit their complaints and our staff will determine whether or not Florida law would support us initiating an investigation. Officers, still have the authority to investigate anonymous complaints they deem to be an “imminent threat to public health, safety, or welfare, or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources." http://laws.flrules.org/2021/167 [Page 5 - 2021 F.S.S. 166.0415 (1)(b)]
- ONLINEOnline complaints can be submitted by clicking the “SUBMIT A COMPLAINT” link on the Code Compliance Unit home page. This will allow you to enter the details of your complaint and provide essential information for a follow-up investigation.
- BY TELEPHONEA complaint may be called into the Code Compliance Department: 954-390-2151. Please provide your name, number and/or email address, along with the details of your complaint. Should a Code Officer not be available at the time of your call, please leave a detailed message as they spend most of their time in the field.
- IN-PROGRESS VIOLATIONSAn "in-progress" code violation such as noise, illegal dumping, door-to-door solicitation, etc., may be called in directly to our regional dispatch center: 954-764-HELP (4357).
Searching a property for Existing Code ViolationsA property can easily be searched online from the Code Compliance Unit home page by clicking the “SEARCH VIOLATIONS” link. You will be re-directed to the CitizenServe website where you can search a property complaint by entering the physical address.
Inspection ProcessOnce a violation is detected by a Code Compliance Officer or submitted by a citizen, a property inspection is then completed. The Code Compliance Officer inspects the subject property for visible violations, attempts to make contact with an owner or tenant, and will conduct a property search through the Broward County Property Appraiser’s website to identify the owner of record.
Enforcement ProcessesThe City of Wilton Manors Code Compliance Unit generally practices an escalating enforcement process unless the violation is so severe that it impacts the public’s safety, health, or welfare.
I. Verbal Warning/Courtesy Notice
Depending on the severity of a violation, the code enforcement process could begin with a conversation with an owner or tenant regarding the violation, method for compliance, as well as a reasonable time frame to comply. A Courtesy Notice may also be left with the owner or tenant, or posted on the property should immediate contact not be possible. If the violation is corrected and not repeated, no further action will be required.II. Notice of Violation
If the property does not come into compliance by the required date and the owner of record has not contacted the Code Compliance Officer, a Notice of Violation is mailed by both regular and certified mail and/or may be posted on the subject property. A reasonable compliance date will be provided to correct the violation. The owner of record is responsible to inform the assigned Code Compliance Officer that compliance has been achieved so that the property may be re-inspected and the case disposition updated.III. Notice of Violation with Summons to Appear *Special Magistrate Hearing”
If the property is still in non-compliance upon re-inspection on the specified date, a second notice of violation with a summons to appear is mailed to the owner of record by both regular and certified mail and may also be posted on the subject property . This secondary notice informs the owner of record that a hearing is scheduled before the City’s Special Magistrate. The Special Magistrate is empowered by Florida Statute 162 and City of Wilton Manors Municipal Ordinance Section 2-71. A hearing before a Special Magistrate is held to determine if, in fact a violation(s) on the subject property exists, a period of time for which to come into compliance, and a potential daily fine for continued non- compliance beyond the compliance date given. Both the City and the alleged violator present their case and call and/or cross examine witnesses. All testimony is taken under oath. Formal rules of evidence do not apply but fundamental due process shall be observed. The Special Magistrate will make a finding of fact as to notification and due process, a conclusion of law as to the violation(s) and issue an Order specifying a compliance date and a potential daily fine for continued non-compliance beyond the compliance date given. The finding or Order is later reduced to a writing-Order of Enforcement, signed by the Magistrate and sent via certified and regular mail to the violator-owner of record.IV. Final Order of Enforcement
During the Special Magistrate hearing the owner of record may request an extension to comply. A reasonable time to comply may be granted dependent upon the circumstances. The owner of record is responsible to inform the Code Compliance Officer/City that compliance has been achieved, so that the property may be re-inspected and the case disposition updated.
Special Magistrate hearings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the City Hall Commission Chambers located at; 2020 Wilton Drive.
A written order of the Special Magistrate resulting from a violation hearing, containing a finding of fact as to notification and due process. A conclusion of law as to the violation(s) and an order specifying a compliance date and a potential daily fine for continued non-compliance beyond the compliance date given.V. Notice of Certification of Fine Hearing
A formal notice, sent both via certified mail, regular mail and posted on the subject property, specifying a hearing date before the Special Magistrate to answer and defend allegations that the violator did not comply with the Special Magistrate's Final Order of Enforcement.VI. Certification of Fine Hearing
A hearing before the Special Magistrate to determine if, in fact, the violator did not comply with the Magistrate's Final Order of Enforcement. The city will summarize the case and the violator-owner of record is given the opportunity to defend allegations that they did not comply with the Final Order of Enforcement and testify as to any mitigating circumstances for non-compliance with the Special Magistrate. All testimony is taken under oath. Formal rules of evidence do not apply, but fundamental due process shall be observed.VII. Order Imposing Penalty/Lien
A written order of the Special Magistrate, resulting from a Certification of Fine hearing, ordering the payment of a fine up to the amount specified in the Order of Enforcement, for that period of time the property remained in non-compliance beyond the compliance date specified in the Final Order of Enforcement, or which may continue to accrue until the property is brought into compliance. The Order Imposing Penalty/Lien is signed by the Special Magistrate and sent via certified and regular mail to the violator and will be recorded with the Broward County Clerk of the Court and shall constitute a lien for all accrued fines against the property or any other real or personal property that the owner of record owns in Broward County.VIII. Administrative Fines and Associated Costs
Administrative fines are authorized by Florida Statute 162.09 and the City of Wilton Manors Municipal Code of Ordinances, and administered through a Final Order issued by the Special Magistrate. In addition to fines, the Special Magistrate may also include administrative costs, civil penalties, and costs associated with City provided services, such as an emergency board-up.