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New home owner - Code violation

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by subservious, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. subservious

    subservious Registered User

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    Hey everyone. I purchased the home approximately 10 months ago. It is in an unincorporated neighborhood in Seminole County, Florida. Needless to say, it is not the "nicest" looking neighborhood and there are obvious code violations at probably every house.

    Well for some reason, I received a letter from code enforcement for the carport attached to my home. In the letter, they cited code 105.1. It is an aluminum carport that has been through MANY hurricanes. Looking at the permits, I can see the original carport was permitted to be converted in to a room back in 1997. With the permit being that old though, I can not see all of the details on it. My neighbor is still in contact with the people that converted the old carport and they said that the new carport that was built was part of the old carport conversion. I asked code enforcement about viewing the original drawings and they said that they do not keep records that old.

    Another issue is that the carport is approximately 3-4 feet from the property line. The setbacks list it at 7.5 feet. There are a lot of sheds and carports close to the property line in this neighborhood, so I have a feeling that the requirement was different 20 years ago.

    I noticed the first Florida building code went in to effect on March 1, 2002. With the carport being built in 1997-1998, I am not sure if this can benefit me at all.

    Am I screwed here? From what I can gather, my only option is to demolish the existing carport. With the setback requirements, that leave me less than 8 feet to build on, so I couldn't even rebuild the carport if I wanted to. Code enforcement mentioned detaching it from the home and making it free standing, but they couldn't really say for sure if that was an option or not. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    Was the letter about zoning or building codes? I don't understand if they don't keep records that old how did you get the old permit. Is it a zoning or building permit?
     
  3. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    The letter provides reference to a building code (Florida Residential Building Code). Section provided (see below) is a commonly used and extremely vague section to reference. The equivalent of saying you don't have a permit.

    If you truely believe the previous owners and that the work was done under the permit on file, then you may be able to challenge that no work is ongoing, therefore a permit is not required. You have not nor intend to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure. Put the impetus back onto AHJ to show that it was not done under the previous permit.

    [A] 105.1 Required
    Any owner or owner’s authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any impact-resistant coverings, electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.
     
  4. subservious

    subservious Registered User

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    The notice reads the following:
    I am lead to believe that the past owners did do the job with a permit. A very large concrete slab was poured for the carport. Also, the construction looks very professionally done. It isn't some Lowes construction job. It is a well constructed aluminum carport with proper finishings, gutters, etc... It also is still standing without a single leak for more than 20 years.
     
  5. subservious

    subservious Registered User

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    I am able to view that a permit was pulled in 1997 for an existing carport renovation, however the description is very vague. I can not find out any additional details about the permit. When I asked the county about drawings, they said they do not keep records that old.

    I am new to all of this, but I find it a bit odd that Zillow has the carport being added in 1998. Also the property appraisal, which has the layout of my home, has the carport listed on the appraisal for my taxes. I guess the county and property appraisal offices do not cross reference information.
     
  6. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    R106.5 Retention of construction documents required for 180 days from date of completion of the permitted work, OR as required by State OR local laws.

    Everybody assumes that the city has the plans for their abode. Not always.

    Commercial different issue.
     
  7. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    OK, this is interesting. The County does not have records but does not keep them going back that far anyway concerning permits. They allowed the sale of the property and had not flagged it. You say you purchased the home with the existing carport. It may or may not have been constructed under permit with inspections. Hmmm.

    I don't see how they could try to enforce this when no work was done and this was an existing structure that the county allowed sale with no holds on it. I am not sure what originally brought this up as an issue but I am curious. Maybe look at the tax records rather than the missing building permit records.
     
    my250r11 likes this.
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome !!

    Is the carport shown on the most current survey.
    If so does it show the current distances off the property line??




    So is the carport open on three sides?

    Sounds like you need to set down with the head person in charge.

    Go through your story with documentation and see where you stand.

    If the answer is still fix it, there should be an appeals process
     
  9. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    In addition, I would use Google Earth to get a timeline of the changes to the carport to nail down a more specific year.
     
    Joe Engel likes this.
  10. subservious

    subservious Registered User

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    Using google earth pro, I am able to see the carport all of the way back to 2002. I can see what looks like a carport in 1999, but it also could just be a concrete slab. Before 2002 the satellite imagery was basically a black and white blob.

    I am the third owner since the original owners constructed the carport.

    The survey I had done to purchase the house lists the carport as a roofed area. It does not provide the distance from the property line. The carport is open on three sides.

    I have a hunch that my neighbors ex is causing all of this. She had an addition that was built several years ago, that was recently reported. Another neighbor received a violation notice as well, although I'm not sure for what. Meanwhile my next door neighbor has a wooden carport that is collapsing in the middle and is also very close to the property line. He did not receive a violation notice, but he is also good friends with the person I believe reported it. I live in a unincorporated neighborhood that was built in the 50's. I am sure that almost every house in here has some un-permitted addition or structure.
     
  11. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Lead by who?
    Was it disclosed at time of purchase?
    Check with County tax accessor and see when it appeared on the tax roles.
     
  12. subservious

    subservious Registered User

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    My next door neighbor is still in contact with the couple that built the carport.
    I will check with the tax assessor to see if they can verify when it appeared.
     
  13. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    For as long as I have been an inspector we required covered parking with either a garage or carport. If a person wants to convert an existing garage/carport to habitable space they must replace the lost covered parking with either a carport or a garage. When researching our files I find vague to undecipherable information. If there is a permit for the conversion that has been finaled I must assume that there was a garage or carport built at the same time as the conversion. It can be a two edged sword because sometimes there is no covered parking and they want to add square footage. Alrighty then they shall start with covered parking.

    Ask what the policy was when the permit was issued.
     
  14. subservious

    subservious Registered User

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    I spoke with the tax assessor this morning. The carport shows up in their records since 1998. It has also been taxed every year since.
     
  15. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    OK, so it is pre-code, they have to accept it.
     
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  16. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    In this state it is on the AHJ to provide proof before we can make you come into compliance.

    Also if we see it is on the tax record for that long we would call it existing none conforming and walk away, we would lose either in the appeals process or court.
     
  17. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    It would have been built under the Standard Building Code (SBCCI) at that time and should not have to meet the new wind loads under the current Florida Building Code. Since Seminole county was considered an inland county back then the wind loads where not that high compared to the coastal counties.
     
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  18. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    mtlogcabin must have been coastalogcabin in the old days?
     
    jar546 likes this.
  19. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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  20. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Thank you for this reference, my hut is similar, being built before the existence of county building permits but not taxes (smiling).
     

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