Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 083641
   Clerk's Official Copy   

File Number: 083641 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 08-133 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: AMEND SEC. 33-8; CERTIFICATE OF USE Introduced: 12/18/2008
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 12/2/2008
Agenda Date: 12/2/2008 Agenda Item Number: 7B
Notes: THIS IS FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED. ALSO SEE #082198. Title: ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 33-8 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, REQUIRING CERTIFICATE OF USE FOR SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCES, CONDOMINIUM UNITS, TOWNHOUSES AND DUPLEXES, ACQUIRED THROUGH CERTIFICATE OF TITLE, REQUIRING CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE BUILDING CODES AND ZONING CODES; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 082198]
Indexes: AMENDING CODE
  CERTIFICATE
Sponsors: Natacha Seijas, Prime Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

County Attorney 12/18/2008 Assigned Thomas H. Robertson

Board of County Commissioners 12/2/2008 7B AMENDED Adopted as amended P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Commissioner Sorenson expressed concerns that this policy could result in the unintended consequence of slowing down the process for returning properties to the market. She recognized Mr. Alex Sanchez, representing the banking industry, to present his concerns regarding this issue to the Board. Mr. Alex Sanchez, President/CEO, Florida Bankers Association (FBA), appeared before the Board and provided a brief overview of the FBA’s structure and purpose. He cautioned against burdening local state banks with this requirement to obtain a Certificate of Use (CU) and having national banks not comply because of pre-emption issues of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Mr. Sanchez asked that this ordinance be deferred. Vice-Chairwoman Jordan advised Mr. Sanchez that his comments addressed issues contained in Agenda Item 7C, which was not before the Board at this time. Mr. Douglas Dewitt, 13900 S.W. 72nd Court, appeared before the Board and acknowledged the intent of the foregoing ordinance to address the issues surrounding foreclosure crisis. He expressed concern that the Commission did not fully understand how the asset management disposal process worked with regard to banks. Mr. Sanchez stated the biggest problems were the abandoned and stripped houses that could not be easily recertified. He added no process currently existed that allowed an asset manager to perform the amount of work required by some of these properties, which pushed the responsibility to the real estate brokers. Mr. Sanchez requested the hurdles delaying the process of getting these properties back into private ownership be removed. He stated requiring recertification or new certificates of use on each of the properties would doom them to a prolonged period of neglect. Assistant County Attorney Thomas Robertson advised an alternative to banks making the necessary repairs, was that the department could issue CUs requiring inspections be done and that report recorded as public record identifying any problems with the property. Because the inspections would be recorded, Mr. Robertson noted, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to obtain a mortgage or title insurance without the property being cleared. Mr. Dewitt recommended the Board establish a foreclosure crisis task force, consisting of representatives from code enforcement, law enforcement, and other related county departments, to develop a best practices program. He suggested other municipalities within the County also be included. Commissioner Seijas explained that her intent with this ordinance was to protect the buyer from inheriting the responsibility of code violations caused by previous owners. She noted she understood several County employees had access to software that tracked foreclosures within Miami-Dade County, and asked the County Manager to be cognizant of this situation. In response to Commissioner Seijas’ comment regarding an article in the “Miami Today” newspaper, Mr. Sanchez noted his comments in that article were misquoted and explained that FBA banks were regulated and evaluated annually regarding mortgage lending practices. In response to Commissioner Sosa’s requests for clarification, Assistant County Attorney Robertson noted the foregoing ordinance applied to properties sold by a judicial process, which included only foreclosure and satisfaction of judgment sales. Regarding who would pay for the inspection and fees associated with this process, Mr. Robertson noted this ordinance provided that the department could charge a fee for the inspection and CU, which would be paid by the purchaser at the closing. He explained that banks generally purchased the homes in foreclosure with judgments filed, and as purchaser, paid the inspection and CU costs. Mr. Robertson advised that the costs for inspections, renovations, and other fees for obtaining a CU would be included in the purchase price once the bank placed the property back on the market. Commissioner Jordan asked to be added as a co-sponsor of this ordinance and recognized Dr. Cruz to present his concerns on the record. Dr. Robert Cruz, Chief Economist, Office of Economic Development Coordination (OEDC), appeared and noted identifying and disclosing code violations would benefit the buyer and the economy. However, he noted, the foregoing ordinance required the owners of the current mortgages to repair the code violations, which would extend the foreclosure process, and result in the unintended consequence of properties and neighborhoods suffering from the effects of vacant and abandoned homes. Dr. Cruz noted a private market solution existed that lenders require a property be inspected prior to issuing a new loan; and that lenders require all significant violations be remedied as a condition of receiving the loan, which would become the basis for negotiations between the buyer and seller. Dr. Cruz pointed out the requirement that violations be identified and publicly noticed would enhance this private market solution. He further noted this ordinance could increase the risk of lending in the unincorporated area, which bankers would incorporate into the mortgages, resulting in higher interest rates and/or down payments He advised that requiring an inspection and the disclosure of the inspection results provided a benefit to the buyer with no associated economic harm. He stated the requirement that current mortgage holders be responsible for bringing properties up to code was the stumbling block in this legislation. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s suggested amendment to remove the language requiring a CU be obtained to avoid higher costs, Commissioner Seijas stated the requirement that lenders repair code violations was what increased costs. Mr. Charles Danger, Director, Miami-Dade County Building Department, appeared and explained the problem of foreclosed properties being destroyed by previous owners, followed by investors buying, applying cosmetic fixes, and selling them to unsuspecting purchasers who then, would be stuck making the repairs. He spoke in support of the intent of this ordinance to identify and disclose code violations to prospective buyers before the sale was final. Commissioner Gimenez recommended this ordinance be amended to provide that a CU inspection be required and the results be disclosed to the buyer, including an estimate of repair costs, and that it become part of the negotiations between the buyer and seller. Commissioner Diaz pointed out that banks were currently losing money on foreclosures while investors were flipping houses and making money. He expressed his support of this ordinance as written and asked to be listed as a co-sponsor. Discussion ensued among members of the Board concerning the development of appropriate language to protect home buyers from hidden expenses for complying with code violations when purchasing a home; and the development of a mechanism to prevent mortgage interests rates from increasing as a consequence of this legislation. The Board adopted the foregoing ordinance as amended to include language providing that all building code violations existing in foreclosed properties be clearly disclosed to buyers, and that the estimated cost of making the properties compliant be included in the negotiated purchase price.

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 33-8 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, REQUIRING CERTIFICATE OF USE FOR SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCES, CONDOMINIUM UNITS, TOWNHOUSES AND DUPLEXES, ACQUIRED THROUGH CERTIFICATE OF TITLE, REQUIRING CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE BUILDING CODES AND ZONING CODES; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Section 338 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:1
Sec. 33-8. Certificate of use.
(a) No structure, other than a single family residence or duplex, shall be used or any existing use enlarged, or any new use made of any land, body of water, or structure, without first obtaining a certificate of use (C.U.) therefor from the Department. Said certificate of use shall be required for each individual business and each multi-family building located within unincorporated Miami-Dade County.
(b) In the event there is a question as to the legality of a use, the Director may require inspections, affidavits and such other information he may deem appropriate or necessary to establish the legality of the use, before a certificate of use will be issued. Additionally, the Department shall have the right to periodically inspect premises at any reasonable time to ensure the existence of a current and valid C.U., and to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions under which a C.U. was issued.
>>(c) The person or entity listed upon a Certificate of Title issued pursuant to Chapter 45, Florida Statutes as the purchaser of a single family residence, condominium unit, townhouse or duplex shall obtained a C.U. from the Department prior to offering said residence for sale, transfer or other alienation. The C.U. required by this subsection (c) shall be for the purpose of determining whether or not the residence in question complies with all building codes and zoning codes applicable to the residence and to provide a disclosure of those findings. The Director shall require disclosure by requiring an inspection of the property by personnel authorized to conduct such inspections by the Director and to subsequently record in the public records of Miami-Dade County the inspection report. Said report shall include a good faith estimate of the cost to repair or remedy all code violations disclosed by the inspection. The Director shall prescribe the form of the inspection report and disclosure to ensure compliance with the intent of this section. Upon the recording of the inspection report and estimate in the public records of Miami-Dade County, the Director is authorized to issue the C.U. required by this section (c). The Director shall refer any County Code violations disclosed in the report to the proper County Department for enforcement action. County Departments are authorized to collect fees for inspections and other administrative costs and/or for the issuance of the C.U., as maybe applicable, and as established in the Departmentsí approved schedule of fees <<
Except for C.U.'s required by code or zoning resolution to be renewed annually, and except for C.U.'s issued on a temporary basis, certificates of use shall remain valid for an unlimited time unless revoked for cause. The C.U. is only valid for the specific address, business name, corporate name and type of business for which it was issued. A new C.U. shall be required for any changes in; use, name, ownership, expansion of square footage occupied, the inclusion of additional uses, or when changes to the structure have been approved by final building inspection.
No certificate of use shall be utilized in a manner contrary to the regulations contained in this chapter.
Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.

1 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.



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