Junk cars and rusted metal when trying to sell a house with code violations in Jacksonville

Posted on June 13, 2022 by in Uncategorized

Can You Sell a House with Code Violations in Jacksonville?

Can You Sell a House with Code Violations in Jacksonville?

It’s time to sell your home, but you just got a letter from your Municipal Code Compliance division letting you know that there was a code violation cited on your home. Can you still sell? 

The short answer is yes, but you may have to take some extra (and sometimes costly) steps to do so! 

What is a code violation? 

A code violation, or municipal code violation occurs when the condition of a property breaches local municipal codes. Each city is different, but almost every major metropolitan area has a municipal code division. Jacksonville, our primary market, takes code violations very seriously and has inspectors and officers actively looking from properties that are non-compliant. 

A code violation is usually accompanied by a fine and even a lien against the home if the home isn’t brought back up to code quickly. 

What are some common code violations?

Municipal code violations can be building code violations, or deal with visible blight on the property. Some of the most common code violations include: 

  • Tarped roofs – roofs that have been damaged and tarped to prevent further deterioration must be quickly repaired. A tarped roof lasting more than a few weeks is sure to draw the attention of code officers. 
  • Trash and debris – A yard that is full of trash or debris like old cars, old appliances, furniture, old electronics will often find itself in violation of municipal codes, and is likely to be cited until cleaned. 
  • Excessive vegetation – A yard that is full of tall grass, weeds, and overgrown shrubs may be in violation of city code, even if not in an HOA. 
  • Boarded up windows – Windows that have been broken and boarded up which are visible from the street may be a code violation. 

What happens when I get a code violation?

The first step in the code violation process is typically a written notice. A code officer notices a violation, does a cursory home  inspection, and sends a letter requesting that the homeowner remedy the issue by a set date. 

On the date indicated in your warning notice, the officer will re-inspect the location to ensure that the home is now in compliance. If the home is still not compliant another notice will be sent, typically indicating an upcoming hearing. 

The hearing is usually held by a magistrate of the court, an appointee who acts on behalf of a judge, or by a civil council. At the meeting the homeowner is allowed to provide evidence and explanations for any justification for the violation, or any upcoming plans to remedy the violation. 

If the court is still unsatisfied, or if the homeowner fails to attend the hearing, a judgment against the property will be made. 

What are the penalties if I don’t fix my code violation? 

If the magistrate, judge, or council enters a judgment against your property, there are a number of possible penalties. 

  • Rolling fines – The court may order a daily rolling fine to be assessed against the violating home. These fines can cost as much as $250.00 per day until the violation is remedied. Some homes have hundreds of thousands in fines assessed which have to be remedied before the home sale. 
  • Work order and lien – A work order may be entered by the city instructing their contractors to remedy the violation on behalf of the homeowner. A lien and nuisance case is then entered against the property for the cost of the work order plus reasonable fees and interest. 


What are my selling options if my home has code violations?

The most comprehensive option is to remedy the violation, pay any fines, and obtain a satisfaction from the city. Your real estate agent can present this to buyers and title companies to prove a clean title. 

You could also sell your house fast to a cash buyer. These potential buyers will buy houses without a home inspection, allowing them to close even with violations present. Many of these cash buyers are experts at working with the city and building departments to clear code violations. You may even be able to find a cash buyer who will pay any back fees and fines for you at the time of closing!