Never start a War with the neighbors-Advice Needed

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13 Years
Sep 7, 2009
Wesley Chapel FL
I will make this short as possible, anyone with advise please chime!

Lived here 4 years, neighborhood where everyone is on an acre. Next door, neighbor moved out he could no longer afford payments so rented it out. The renters are a real nightmare, loud music coming from cars rattling my house, traffic going in and out all day, pitbulls tied to trees, junk cars appearing overnight on the property, peeling out in the streets you name it, it goes on. I asked repeatedly for them to turn the music down, even had the cops come out there to tell them to turn it down, but daily it went on so I made the BIG MISTAKE of getting code enforcement involved. I complained about the cars, the loud music, and a porch on the back of their mobile that they attempted to make a room and stopped halfway.

Turns out they didnt have permits for the front or back porch or for their shed. They are probably going to pay bigtime for it. I didn't mean for it to get to that. The daughter of the owner comes to me, pitching a fit, and tells me her brother used to own my house and he and his friends built my porch and it never was permitted and said she has a friend in code enforcement that told her I reported them so she's reporting my porch. Since then my yard has been tee pee'd and my fence broken. The renters are related to the owners in some way I know.

After her telling me she was reporting me, I checked my survey, went on property appraiser's website, everything shows the aluminum screened porch so I thought I had nothing to worry about. WRONG. Code enforcement officer knocks on my door and I get this big red paper and 2 warning tickets. Dont even know how he saw what he did unless he got on a letter and peered over the fence into my backyard. One for the porch, it must be permitted. I called the property appraiser's office, asking her how I could be taxed on something without it ever getting permitted, wouldn't they realize that? She said they don't care about permitting, they just worry about collecting taxes on any new structures they find (they found the porch in 2003) I have to get either an engineer or architect to come draw plans for it, get two copies signed and sealed and statements saying it is up to code (it probably isn't). I just don't understand that if the county obviously knew about my porch because it is on the tax rolls, why am I having to go through this. I did all the right things, had the property surveyed, appraised, went through a realtor, had title insurance and somehow nobody caught this porch not having a permit. IF the porch doesn't meet code, I face having to tear it down. I love the screened porch its the best thing ever and I can't imagine having to rip it down. I couldn't even afford a new one as I'm in between jobs at this time. I was told to take the previous owners to court but they're divorced and likely have no $$$ as that's why they sold this place in the first place.

The shed, which I'm not as worried about, is a joke. It is a Rubbermaid shed about 6' x 6' and I am getting fined, paying double permitting fee since I never had a building permit pulled before putting it up, I bought it from Home Depot and had no idea it needed a permit, if I would have known I would have applied for one. When I called down there someone at the office said this county does not permit plastic sheds because they don't stand up to hurricanes. Another person said they do as long as its on concrete slab.

So I'm in a WORLD of trouble and anger and sadness right now over my house being under attack because I complained about the unruly neighbors next door.

Has anyone dealt with code enforcement and has anyone gone through something similar? If so, please share because right now it's not looking good. I'm worried and can't get this off my mind.

I'm going down there Monday to talk to them, I know being nice will help but how can I be nice if they're going to make me take my little shed down and the backporch as well?
Wait! You bought the house with the porch already on it?? You shouldn't be responsible for it period especially if you can prove the porch was already there when you bought it. And that info should be on your apraisal. I would definetly talk to someone higher up cause it sounds like she put a major bug in someone's ear and their abusing their authority!!

Good luck and I'm sorry this is happening to you!!

I really think someone is just jerking your chain. If anything...the person who put the porch on would be fined retroactively. Can you show that the porch was on the house when you bought it?

Try calling your realtor and see if they can give you any advice.

In the meantime dont start tearing things down til you make an appeal.

What a mess. Ugh!
Thanks, you would THINK that since it was here when I bought the property, then that wouldn't make it my problem. However, one person at the office said it's like buying a stolen car, you are responsible for it. Just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. I'm glad someone else agrees with me. Now I'm afraid to even know what else on here might not be permitted that should be. Sure the chicken coops aren't permitted but thankfully nothing has been said about that. Their website says the following

The goal of the Code Compliance Division is to provide information to all interested parties and to fairly and efficiently enforce the Pasco County Land Development Code and ordinances.

We'll see if they hold true to their motto on Monday.
I agree about the porch - if you bought the house with it there, then the lack of a permit way back when shouldn't transfer to you. Whether you might be required to make modifications to bring it up to code (if it's not), I don't know, but mistakes (or intentional oversights) on behalf of the previous owners should not mean that YOU get fined.

As far as the shed is concerned, I dunno
My realtor is as shocked as I am! How can I be taxed on it yet they are saying they didn't know about it. I thought maybe the title company was at fault. She talked to a title company and they don't routinely check permits. She gave me real estate attorney numbers and I've called one, he said it will have to all come out of my pocket first. Fighting code enforcement never works he said. Plus his fees are $1,500 to start! Kim, I think a retroactive fine sounds fair, its would then be a matter of tracking down the 2 that lived here before me. Oh, and the fine on the porch is $50 plus double the permitting fee. That's on top of what an architect charges to draw plans for the porch (don't wanna know!!!)
The daughter of the owner comes to me, pitching a fit, and tells me her brother used to own my house and he and his friends built my porch

wouldn't that mean they sold the house knowing it had a porch that did not have a permit? I'm not sure about hte past of the house but that sorta sounds like a scam. Building a porch raising the property value of the house while saving money on not having to go though all the permits and if its not up to code doing it on the cheap. Just my opinion
So in my opinion you should not be responsible for the porch considering you bought the house with it. The shed if needed a permit Home Depot should have told you. If they don't allow them your local Home Depot should not be allow to sell them. The neighbors on the other hand I use to have neighbors like that and I use to call the cops on them for the loud music and we use to yell at them because I had a child trying to sleep and they wouldn't turn it down. Just be careful with heavy traffic area they may be drug dealers or something. My old neighbors were and after all I went through the cops were driving by hourly.
Yes, and that is where I have the previous owners on the hook, if it gets to that. I found my seller's disclosure statement and for the question pertaining to any add-ons or structural modifications to the property, and whether proper permits were pulled, they checked NO. That is where they lied in the disclosure statement. But what good is it if they are dirt poor and can't repay me anyways. Then I'd have unpaid attorney fees as well.
Gahhh! the whole thing is crazy. That is like saying that when I buy a house, I should research every bit of the houses history from the day that it was built to make sure that all permits were issued. Jiminy Cricket! next best piece of advice is call your local TV station/newspaper. Get them involved. They should be able to get some answers.

DH says that in our state (VA) unless a shed/is permanently mounted, it doesnt need a permit. We bought a 12x10 prefab one last summer. They wheeled it in and dropped it where I pointed. Since it is on blocks and can be moved it doesnt need a permit. They also cant placed property tax against it because I can take it with me if I sell someday. Sounds like your shed is the same thing.

Try calling Lowe's or Home Depot and pretend that you are interested in purchasing one of the sheds like the one that you have, but you wondered if it needed a building permit. After they get done laughing, they should be able to say NO... lol

Hope things start looking up!
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