March 16, 2009

New County Law Requires Re-Issuance of Certificates of Use for Foreclosed Homes

Holland & Knight Alert
Alan Samuel Krischer
The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners (Commission) recently adopted a new law that imposes significant new obligations that must be met before anyone who acquires a foreclosed home can resell the property. Under Ordinance Number 08-133 (the Ordinance), all persons or entities who acquire a residence through a Certificate of Title issued pursuant to Chapter 45, Florida Statutes, as the purchaser of a single family residence, condominium unit, townhouse or duplex are now required to obtain a new Certificate of Use (CU) from the Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning (DP&Z) before offering the residence for sale or transfer. This new law went into effect on December 12, 2008.
The intent of the new CU requirement is to ensure that the residence complies with all applicable building and zoning codes, and to require disclosure in the public records of any violations of the codes (and the estimated cost of correcting them). In order to obtain the required CU, the owner will need to allow authorized personnel to enter the property and directly inspect the home to determine if the property violates the building or zoning code. An inspection report must be recorded in the Public Records of Miami-Dade County, and the report must include a good faith estimate of the cost to repair or remedy all code violations disclosed by the inspection. Currently, architects and engineers are authorized to conduct the inspections and prepare the good faith estimate.

The CU will be issued only after the inspection report and estimate are recorded in the Public Records. The director of the DP&Z will refer any County Code violations disclosed in the report to the appropriate County Department for enforcement action. The County departments are authorized to collect fees for inspections and other administrative costs, and for the issuance of the CU in accordance with the departmental approved fee schedules.

This new ordinance can potentially have a significant impact on transactions involving foreclosed properties. At a minimum, parties dealing with such properties should take into account the expense and time of having the required inspections performed and in completing the CU process. The new certificate of use must be obtained before the property can be sold or otherwise conveyed again.

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