The City of Hollywood has a problem with unregulated construction and unsafe structures. This situation directly affects people who want to buy or rent property in Hollywood.
“While I strongly support enforcement of ordinances designed to protect both buyers and sellers, the techniques that brought this issue forward are absolutely wrong, even if they may be legal,” said Commissioner Dick Blatter referring to code enforcement officers posing as potential buyers at open houses last month. “Lots of people have a role to play here, including realtors, who often assume all improvements were permitted and performed by competent and licensed contractors; sellers who make changes but want to avoid the admittedly arduous process, and contractors who encourage homeowners to skip the permit phase.”
John Chidsey, Hollywood’s code compliance manager, gave a presentation on the creation of an internal code-compliance task force at a recent Commission meeting in response to the issue. The team will seek out and address illegal conversions, unsafe structures, and unpermitted building.
During his presentation, Chidsey showed pictures of unsafe buildings and poor renovation work.
The pictures weren’t pretty. Some showed evidence of haphazardly installed wiring, which created fire and electrocution hazards. Others featured amateurish plumbing work. In some cases owners had expanded their building, adding entire rooms to a home, without any form of City approval or regulation. All of the examples had one thing in common, hastily-done work that was neither safe nor permitted.
Chidsey explains that these property owners were trying to fix up and sell property very quickly. The problem is that these buildings are so unsafe they are putting the personal safety of renters or buyers at risk.
Vice Mayor Peter Hernandez said it is important to get a sense of what can be done and what can’t be done. “We need to get a program that works for everyone. We need to make it more effective.”
Commissioner Patricia Asseff said she wants to have a meeting with the Board of Realtors. “They want to talk with us. We need to work hand in hand with the realtors. We need to have cooperation and work collectively,” she said.
The City will give home owners one year to bring their homes into compliance. Those who fail to do so in the allotted time face fines and potentially up to 364 days in jail.