Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 902
       By Senator Perry
       8-00857-19                                             2019902__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to open and expired building permits;
    3         creating s. 553.7905, F.S.; specifying conditions
    4         under which a building permit is considered an open
    5         permit, expired permit, or closed permit; authorizing
    6         an open or expired permit to be closed on by or on
    7         behalf of the current property owner if certain
    8         requirements are met; prohibiting a local enforcement
    9         agency from taking certain actions against a
   10         subsequent arms-length purchaser of property because a
   11         building permit was not properly closed within certain
   12         time periods; providing that a local enforcement
   13         agency maintains all rights and remedies identified on
   14         the permit; providing that certain permits may be
   15         closed under certain circumstances; providing
   16         exceptions; authorizing the owner of a home for sale
   17         to assume the role of an owner-builder in order to
   18         resolve an open permit under certain circumstances;
   19         providing that such owner is not required to reside in
   20         the home for a specified period; authorizing a
   21         contractor to hold an unlimited number of permits;
   22         providing that certain provisions of the Florida
   23         Building Code are not applicable to certain permits;
   24         providing an exception; requiring a local enforcement
   25         agency to provide written notice to a property owner
   26         when issuing a building permit; authorizing a
   27         governmental entity to charge a fee for searching for
   28         and identifying certain open or unexpired building
   29         permits; requiring a local enforcement agency to send
   30         a written notice to a property owner within a
   31         specified period if a permit has not been properly
   32         closed; providing requirements for the notice;
   33         providing that failure to receive written notice does
   34         not relieve certain persons from taking action to
   35         close a permit; providing construction; providing an
   36         effective date.
   38  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   40         Section 1. Section 553.7905, Florida Statutes, is created
   41  to read:
   42         553.7905Open and expired permits; procedures for closing;
   43  notices to owners applying for permits.—
   44         (1)A building permit shall be considered an open permit if
   45  it is issued for any portion of construction of any commercial,
   46  residential, or mixed-use project that has not received final
   47  inspection approval within one of the following periods:
   48         (a)One year after the expiration of the notice of
   49  commencement or the last amendment thereto.
   50         (b)In the absence of a notice of commencement:
   51         1.One year after the last inspection conducted under the
   52  permit; or
   53         2.If an inspection has not been performed on the project,
   54  2 years after the date of issuance of the permit.
   55         (2)If an open permit expires without receiving final
   56  inspection approval and without complying with other
   57  requirements of the permit at issue, the open permit shall be
   58  considered an expired permit as provided in s. 105.4 of the
   59  Florida Building Code.
   60         (3)A closed permit is a building permit in which any of
   61  the following apply:
   62         (a)A final inspection approval has been obtained upon
   63  satisfaction of permit requirements.
   64         (b)No work is started under the original permit within 6
   65  months after issuance of the permit.
   66         (c)The requirements of subsection (4) are satisfied.
   67         (4)An open or expired permit may be closed by or on behalf
   68  of the current property owner, regardless of whether the
   69  property owner is the same owner who originally applied for the
   70  permit or is a subsequent owner, by complying with the
   71  requirements for closing permits pursuant to a mutual agreement
   72  between the current property owner and the local enforcement
   73  agency that issued the permit or, absent such an agreement, by
   74  complying with the following requirements:
   75         (a)The property owner may retain the original contractor
   76  who obtained the permit or may hire a different contractor
   77  licensed in this state who possesses any license required for
   78  the performance of any work necessary to satisfy the conditions
   79  of the permit at issue, in order to close the open or expired
   80  permit; reactivate the permit if it is expired; or satisfy any
   81  requirement of the permit at issue not yet satisfied, including
   82  correcting of any code violation in accordance with the building
   83  code that was in effect when the application for the permit was
   84  filed, and obtaining any necessary inspection.
   85         1. The state license of the contractor who performs these
   86  functions must be current and active.
   87         2. After providing the local enforcement agency a written
   88  notice of change to a new licensed contractor and reactivation
   89  of the permit, if applicable, the contractor is not liable for
   90  any existing defect or existing work that fails to comply with
   91  any applicable code, rule, regulation, ordinance, permit
   92  requirement, or law other than the work actually performed by
   93  the contractor.
   94         3. The property owner and the permitholder under the
   95  original open or expired permit remain liable, within the period
   96  of any applicable statute of limitations or repose and as
   97  provided by applicable law, for any defect in the work or for
   98  failure to comply with any applicable code, rule, regulation,
   99  ordinance, permit requirement, or law.
  100         4. To the extent required by chapter 489, the owner or the
  101  contractor may hire licensed subcontractors in the scope of the
  102  permitted work who may perform the functions of the contractor
  103  as outlined in this subsection to the extent the work is covered
  104  by the subcontractor’s license.
  105         5. All work required to properly close an open or expired
  106  permit under this section must be performed in accordance with
  107  the building code in effect on the date the application for the
  108  open or expired permit was filed, unless, pursuant to the
  109  building code in effect when the work is performed, the
  110  contractor has sought and received approval from the local
  111  enforcement agency for an alternative material, design, or
  112  method of construction.
  113         (b)1.As an alternative to the procedures required in
  114  paragraph (a), a property owner may hire an engineer or
  115  architect who possesses a current and active license in this
  116  state; is experienced in designing, supervising, or inspecting
  117  work of the nature covered by the open or expired permit at
  118  issue; and has at least 3 years of experience in performing
  119  field inspections regarding such work to inspect the
  120  construction work subject to the open or expired building
  121  permit, direct any repair necessary to comply with all the
  122  requirements of the permit, and confirm compliance by submitting
  123  an affidavit bearing the seal of the engineer or architect to
  124  the issuing local enforcement agency. The affidavit must be
  125  substantially in the following form:
  127         I, ...(specify name)..., possess a current and active
  128         ...(specify engineering or architectural)... license
  129         in the State of Florida. I am experienced in
  130         designing, supervising, or inspecting work of the
  131         nature covered by the open or expired permit at the
  132         real property located at ...(specify address).... I
  133         have at least 3 years of experience in performing
  134         field inspections as to such work. I have inspected
  135         the construction work subject to the open or expired
  136         building permit number ...(specify number)..., and I
  137         confirm that the construction work complies with all
  138         known requirements of the permit at issue.
  140         Signed:
  142  ...(affix licensing seal)...
  144         2.If any of the permitted work includes construction
  145  outside the engineer’s or architect’s area of expertise, the
  146  property owner, engineer, or architect may hire an engineer or
  147  architect licensed in the scope of the permitted work who may
  148  direct any necessary repairs to comply with all requirements of
  149  the permit at issue. The engineer or architect hired by the
  150  property owner, engineer, or architect must confirm compliance
  151  by submitting to the local enforcement agency issuing the permit
  152  a signed and sealed affidavit attesting to compliance with all
  153  requirements of the permit at issue.
  154         3.The local enforcement agency issuing the permit shall
  155  accept the affidavit or affidavits referenced in this paragraph
  156  as satisfaction of all requirements of the permit at issue and
  157  shall thereafter close the building permit, unless the agency
  158  conducts its own final inspection within 7 business days after
  159  receipt of the affidavit or affidavits and discovers code or
  160  permit violations within the scope of work covered by the
  161  permit. Such violations must be corrected to the local
  162  enforcement agency’s satisfaction as a condition to closing the
  163  permit. All work required to properly close an open or expired
  164  permit under this paragraph must be performed in accordance with
  165  the building code in effect on the date the application for the
  166  open or expired permit was filed, unless, pursuant to the
  167  building code in effect when the work is performed, the engineer
  168  or architect has sought and received approval from the local
  169  enforcement agency for an alternative material, design, or
  170  method of construction.
  171         (5)The requirements of subsection (4) apply regardless of
  172  whether the building permit is open or has expired.
  173         (6)(a)A local enforcement agency may not deny issuance of
  174  a building permit or issue a notice of violation to, or fine,
  175  penalize, sanction, or assess fees against, a subsequent arms
  176  length purchaser of the subject property for value solely
  177  because a building permit was not properly closed within one of
  178  the following periods:
  179         1.Five years after expiration of the date of recordation
  180  of the notice of commencement or of the last amendment thereto.
  181         2.If a notice of commencement was not recorded, within 7
  182  years after the building permit was issued.
  183         (b)A local enforcement agency shall maintain all rights
  184  and remedies against the property owner and contractor
  185  identified on the permit.
  186         (7)An individual trade permit, or any other permit type
  187  determined by a local enforcement agency, may be closed 6 years
  188  after issuance of the permit if no apparent safety hazards exist
  189  and no code violations have been previously documented. This
  190  subsection does not apply to a building permit for a building
  191  project still under construction with a legally granted permit
  192  extension.
  193         (8)As an alternative to the requirements in subsection
  194  (4), with the approval of the local enforcement agency, the
  195  owner of a home for sale may assume the role of an owner-builder
  196  in order to resolve an open permit for a substantially completed
  197  project when the project is abandoned or otherwise not completed
  198  by the licensed contractor who obtained the permit. The owner is
  199  not required to continue to reside in the home for 1 year. This
  200  alternative applies only to real property consisting of single
  201  or multiple family dwellings up to and including four units.
  202         (9)A contractor may hold an unlimited number of active
  203  permits.
  204         (10)Provisions in the Florida Building Code which
  205  authorize permits to be administratively closed by a local
  206  enforcement agency are not applicable to a permit subject to
  207  regulation by an agency not specifically enforcing the Florida
  208  Building Code, except where the local enforcement agency has
  209  regulatory authority over other areas related to the permit,
  210  such as zoning or other land development code provisions.
  211  Regulations not subject to such provisions in the Florida
  212  Building Code include, but are not limited to, local zoning and
  213  land use rules, local stormwater management rules, local
  214  platting and subdivision requirements, rules implemented by the
  215  Department of Health and the Department of Business and
  216  Professional Regulation, local utility standards, and provisions
  217  of the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System.
  218         (11)When issuing a building permit, a local enforcement
  219  agency shall provide to the property owner a written notice,
  220  which may be electronically provided if the permit package is
  221  electronically provided, in substantially the following form:
  225         PERMITS
  227         You are receiving a building permit authorizing the
  228         construction referenced in the application that was
  229         submitted to this local enforcement agency by you or
  230         on your behalf. The permit is issued with conditions,
  231         including required building inspections and assurances
  232         that the construction complies with the design
  233         submitted with the permit application and any other
  234         conditions referenced in the permit. It is critical
  235         that you ensure that all necessary building
  236         inspections are passed before the expiration of any
  237         notice of commencement or amendment thereto, as these
  238         inspections are important to ensure that construction
  239         has been performed in a safe and proper manner. If you
  240         have any questions regarding these procedures, please
  241         call the local enforcement agency. Your failure to
  242         comply may also result in unsafe conditions arising
  243         from your construction.
  245         (12)The applicable governmental entity may charge only one
  246  search fee for searching for and identifying open or unexpired
  247  building permits for a tax parcel, regardless of how many units
  248  or subunits may be assigned by a municipality or county to a
  249  particular tax parcel identification number, in an amount
  250  commensurate with research and time costs incurred by the
  251  governmental entity.
  252         (13)For all building permits issued after October 1, 2019,
  253  a local enforcement agency shall send a written notice to the
  254  property owner if a building permit has not been properly closed
  255  within 1 to 3 years after issuance of any such permit. The
  256  notice must advise the property owner of the need to properly
  257  close the permit upon completion of the work covered by the
  258  permit. Failure to receive written notice does not relieve the
  259  contractor or the property owner from taking the necessary
  260  actions to legally close the permit.
  261         (14)This act does not prevent a local governmental entity
  262  from enforcing any provision of a local land development code or
  263  other local ordinance not inconsistent with this section.
  264         Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2019.