Florida Senate - 2011                                    SB 1248
       By Senator Norman
       12-01157B-11                                          20111248__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the enforcement of county and
    3         municipal codes and ordinances; amending s. 162.12,
    4         F.S.; authorizing notices relating to a code violation
    5         to be sent by certified mail to the property owner at
    6         an address provided to the local government for the
    7         purposes of receiving notices or to the registered
    8         agent of a corporation for property owned by a
    9         corporation; deleting a requirement for such notices
   10         to be sent by first-class mail; amending s. 162.21,
   11         F.S.; authorizing a code enforcement officer to
   12         immediately issue a citation for a code violation if
   13         the violator is engaged in violations of an itinerant
   14         or transient nature; amending s. 173.01, F.S.;
   15         authorizing a municipality or its assignee to
   16         foreclose on an abatement assessment lien against real
   17         property; amending s. 173.03, F.S.; authorizing a
   18         foreclosure for an abatement assessment lien after the
   19         conclusion of proceedings to challenge the lien or
   20         after a certain period after the lien is recorded in
   21         the official records; making grammatical and technical
   22         changes; amending s. 173.04, F.S.; authorizing a
   23         municipality or its assignee to enforce an abatement
   24         assessment lien in circuit court by a bill in chancery
   25         that describes the delinquent lien and the lands to
   26         which the lien applies; making grammatical and
   27         technical changes; creating s. 173.16, F.S.;
   28         authorizing a municipality to assign an abatement
   29         assessment lien to a private party under certain
   30         circumstances; providing an effective date.
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   34         Section 1. Section 162.12, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   35  read:
   36         162.12 Notices.—
   37         (1) All notices required by this part shall be provided to
   38  the alleged violator by:
   39         (a) Certified mail, return receipt requested to, provided
   40  if such notice is sent under this paragraph to the owner of the
   41  property in question at the address listed in the tax
   42  collector’s office for tax notices or to, and at any other
   43  address provided by the property owner in writing to the local
   44  government for the purposes of receiving notices. For property
   45  owned by a corporation, notices may be provided by certified
   46  mail, return receipt requested, to the registered agent of the
   47  corporation. If any notice sent by certified mail by such owner
   48  and is not signed as received within 30 days after the date of
   49  mailing returned as unclaimed or refused, notice may be provided
   50  by posting as described in subparagraphs (2)(b)1. and 2. and by
   51  first class mail directed to the addresses furnished to the
   52  local government with a properly executed proof of mailing or
   53  affidavit confirming the first class mailing;
   54         (b) Hand delivery by the sheriff or other law enforcement
   55  officer, code inspector, or other person designated by the local
   56  governing body;
   57         (c) Leaving the notice at the violator’s usual place of
   58  residence with any person residing therein who is above 15 years
   59  of age and informing such person of the contents of the notice;
   60  or
   61         (d) In the case of commercial premises, leaving the notice
   62  with the manager or other person in charge.
   63         (2) In addition to providing notice as set forth in
   64  subsection (1), at the option of the code enforcement board,
   65  notice may also be served by publication or posting, as follows:
   66         (a)1. Such notice shall be published once during each week
   67  for 4 consecutive weeks (four publications being sufficient) in
   68  a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the code
   69  enforcement board is located. The newspaper shall meet such
   70  requirements as are prescribed under chapter 50 for legal and
   71  official advertisements.
   72         2. Proof of publication shall be made as provided in ss.
   73  50.041 and 50.051.
   74         (b)1. In lieu of publication as described in paragraph (a),
   75  such notice may be posted at least 10 days prior to the hearing,
   76  or prior to the expiration of any deadline contained in the
   77  notice, in at least two locations, one of which shall be the
   78  property upon which the violation is alleged to exist and the
   79  other of which shall be, in the case of municipalities, at the
   80  primary municipal government office, and in the case of
   81  counties, at the front door of the courthouse or the main county
   82  governmental center in said county.
   83         2. Proof of posting shall be by affidavit of the person
   84  posting the notice, which affidavit shall include a copy of the
   85  notice posted and the date and places of its posting.
   86         (c) Notice by publication or posting may run concurrently
   87  with, or may follow, an attempt or attempts to provide notice by
   88  hand delivery or by mail as required under subsection (1).
   90  Evidence that an attempt has been made to hand deliver or mail
   91  notice as provided in subsection (1), together with proof of
   92  publication or posting as provided in subsection (2), is shall
   93  be sufficient to show that the notice requirements of this part
   94  have been met, without regard to whether or not the alleged
   95  violator actually received such notice.
   96         Section 2. Subsection (3) of section 162.21, Florida
   97  Statutes, is amended to read:
   98         162.21 Enforcement of county or municipal codes or
   99  ordinances; penalties.—
  100         (3)(a) A code enforcement officer is authorized to issue a
  101  citation to a person when, based upon personal investigation,
  102  the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the person has
  103  committed a civil infraction in violation of a duly enacted code
  104  or ordinance and that the county court will hear the charge.
  105         (b) Prior to issuing a citation, a code enforcement officer
  106  shall provide notice to the person that the person has committed
  107  a violation of a code or ordinance and shall establish a
  108  reasonable time period within which the person must correct the
  109  violation. Such time period shall be no more than 30 days. If,
  110  upon personal investigation, a code enforcement officer finds
  111  that the person has not corrected the violation within the time
  112  period, a code enforcement officer may issue a citation to the
  113  person who has committed the violation. A code enforcement
  114  officer does not have to provide the person with a reasonable
  115  time period to correct the violation prior to issuing a citation
  116  and may immediately issue a citation if:
  117         1. A repeat violation is found; or
  118         2.If The code enforcement officer has reason to believe
  119  that the violation presents a serious threat to the public
  120  health, safety, or welfare, or if the violation is irreparable
  121  or irreversible; or
  122         3. The violator is engaged in violations of an itinerant or
  123  transient nature, as defined in the local code or ordinance.
  124         (c) A citation issued by a code enforcement officer shall
  125  be in a form prescribed by the county or the municipality and
  126  shall contain:
  127         1. The date and time of issuance.
  128         2. The name and address of the person to whom the citation
  129  is issued.
  130         3. The date and time the civil infraction was committed.
  131         4. The facts constituting reasonable cause.
  132         5. The number or section of the code or ordinance violated.
  133         6. The name and authority of the code enforcement officer.
  134         7. The procedure for the person to follow in order to pay
  135  the civil penalty or to contest the citation.
  136         8. The applicable civil penalty if the person elects to
  137  contest the citation.
  138         9. The applicable civil penalty if the person elects not to
  139  contest the citation.
  140         10. A conspicuous statement that if the person fails to pay
  141  the civil penalty within the time allowed, or fails to appear in
  142  court to contest the citation, the person shall be deemed to
  143  have waived his or her right to contest the citation and that,
  144  in such case, judgment may be entered against the person for an
  145  amount up to the maximum civil penalty.
  146         Section 3. Section 173.01, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  147  read:
  148         173.01 Foreclosure of municipal tax certificates and
  149  abatement assessment liens authorized.—The lien of any and all
  150  taxes, except those ad valorem taxes collectible by the county
  151  tax collector, tax certificates, and special assessments, and
  152  abatement assessment liens imposed by any municipality
  153  incorporated city or town in the state upon real estate may be
  154  foreclosed by such municipality or its assignees city or town by
  155  suit in chancery. The practice, pleading, and procedure in any
  156  such suit must shall be in substantial accordance with the
  157  practice, pleading, and procedure for the foreclosure of
  158  mortgages of real estate, except as herein otherwise provided.
  159         Section 4. Section 173.03, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  160  read:
  161         173.03 Conditions determining when suit may be brought;
  162  lands and claims included.—
  163         (1) Suit may be brought at any time after any one or more
  164  of the following events, respectively:
  165         (a) After the expiration of 2 years from the date of any
  166  tax certificate issued and held by a municipality city or town
  167  whose charter provides for or requires the issuing of tax
  168  certificates for delinquent taxes;
  169         (b) After the expiration of 2 years from the date any tax
  170  becomes delinquent which was imposed by a municipality city or
  171  town whose charter does not provide for or require the issuing
  172  of tax certificates; or
  173         (c) After the expiration of 1 year from the date any
  174  special assessment or installment thereof becomes due and
  175  payable; or
  176         (d) After the expiration of 1 year from the date of
  177  recording of an abatement assessment lien in the public records
  178  of the county where the property is located or upon the
  179  conclusion of any administrative or judicial proceeding
  180  challenging the lien, whichever is later.
  181         (2) The suit may include There may be included in any suit
  182  all or any part of the lands upon which tax certificates have
  183  been outstanding, or taxes have remained delinquent, or any
  184  special assessment or installment thereof shall have been in
  185  default, or an abatement assessment lien has been unsatisfied
  186  for the respective periods specified in subsection (1). The suit
  187  may also include aforesaid, and there may be included therein
  188  all claims and demands of the municipality said city or town
  189  against the said lands or any part thereof for taxes, tax
  190  certificates, and special assessments or installments thereof
  191  which may be due and payable to the municipality such city or
  192  town at the time of the institution of the such suit.
  193         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 173.04, Florida
  194  Statutes, is amended to read:
  195         173.04 Procedure for bringing foreclosure suit; certificate
  196  of attorney as to notice of suit; jurisdiction obtained by
  197  publication of notice of suit; form of notice.—
  198         (1) Any suit hereby authorized by this chapter shall be
  199  commenced by bill in chancery in the circuit court of the county
  200  in which the municipality such city or town is situated. The
  201  suit may be brought by the municipality or an assignee of the
  202  municipality to enforce the, in the name of the city or town
  203  whose taxes, tax certificates, and special assessments, and
  204  abatement assessment liens that are sought to be enforced, as
  205  complainant, and against any or all lands upon which any taxes,
  206  tax certificates and special assessments are delinquent (as the
  207  case may be) for the periods described in s. 173.03(1). The
  208  period aforesaid, as defendant, in which bill in chancery must
  209  there shall be briefly describe described the levy or imposition
  210  and nonpayment of taxes, and special assessments, or abatement
  211  assessments that which are delinquent for the period aforesaid,
  212  and of all other taxes and special assessments then due and
  213  payable to said city or town and sought to be recovered in such
  214  bill, the lands proceeded against, and the amount chargeable to
  215  each parcel or tract. It is shall be unnecessary to name in such
  216  bill or proceedings any person owning or having any interest in
  217  or lien upon such lands as defendants. At least 30 days before
  218  prior to the filing of any such bill in chancery, written notice
  219  of intention to file the same shall be sent by registered mail
  220  to the last known address of the holder of the record title and
  221  to the holder of record of each mortgage or other lien, except
  222  judgment liens, upon each tract of land to be included in said
  223  bill in chancery; such notice shall briefly describe the
  224  particular lot or parcel of land, shall state the amount of tax
  225  certificate and special assessment liens sought to be enforced,
  226  and shall warn the said owner and holders of liens, mortgages,
  227  or other liens that on or after the day therein named said bill
  228  in chancery to enforce the same will be filed, unless paid on or
  229  before said date.
  230         Section 6. Section 173.16, Florida Statutes, is created to
  231  read:
  232         173.16 Assignment of abatement assessment liens to a
  233  private party.—A municipality that imposes a lien against real
  234  property for the assessment of costs to abate conditions on the
  235  property which pose a threat to the public health, safety, and
  236  welfare may assign the lien to a private party for consideration
  237  if the lien has been recorded in the official records in the
  238  county in which the property is located.
  239         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.