May 24, 2017
CODE ENFORCEMENT LIENS MAY BE FORECLOSED LATER THAN YOU THINK
On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court and found that the statutes governing code enforcement liens provide the City with twenty years from the date it recorded its lien to file its foreclosure lawsuit. Identifying it as an issue of first impression, the appellate court said “when read in conjunction with section 162.09(3), the plain language of section 162.10 establishes that a local government has twenty years from the date a code enforcement lien is recorded to file a lawsuit seeking to foreclose or recover a money judgment on the lien.” The appellate court stated it was an error for the trial court to rule the statute of limitations for filing suit to foreclose a code enforcement lien was shorter than twenty years.
Ignoring a local government’s code enforcement lien may have severe consequences. One consequence is that the local government may institute a foreclosure action and, as recent case law shows, such action may be commended up to twenty years from the date the lien is recorded. For more information about the topic of this blog post, please contact Weber Law, P.A.’s Steven D. Weber at 305-377-8788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter how small it may seem, do not ignore a code violation from your local government. In some cases, a local government may impose a fine to enforce a code violation, which can become a lien that can be foreclosed upon. Moreover, the government may have a long length of time to foreclose on any such liens.
In a recent case, the City of Riviera Beach (“City”) attempted to foreclose a code enforcement lien encumbering property owned by the defendant. The lien was recorded in 2003, but the City did not sue to foreclose the lien until 2015. The trial court dismissed the City’s foreclosure claim based on the defendant’s argument that it was barred by either a four or five-year statute of limitations.