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Understanding Property Code

Understanding Property Code

As a landlord, you will have to be aware of many property codes that your property must adhere to. Every state has specific building codes, which dictate the minimum standard to which each building must conform to. In addition, in many areas, there will be other codes to follow as well such as housing codes, fire codes, and health codes. If a building is found not in compliance with these specific codes, notice of violations and fines can be sent to the owner.

The building code typically refers to any construction, electrical, or mechanical aspects of the property. It is a piece of legislation that states how a building should be constructed based on living area and number of occupants. A town official known as a building inspector or building commissioner will make sure that the building is up to code while being constructed. When a building is completed and satisfies code regulations, a certificate of occupancy will usually be given to the owner. This certificate means that the building had been inspected and meets all proper standards and is legally safe to live in.

A housing code in most areas deals with safety and sanitary aspects of the property. It is a written code administered usually at a local level. A housing code can cover a variety of aspects for which it sets standards. For example, it can range from garbage removal to building aesthetics. It can also include safety standards such as electrical and heating apparatuses.

Fire codes stress safety issues and fire prevention for buildings. Fire marshals are implemented in most towns to ensure that safety requirements are met. Some topics covered by these codes include smoke detectors, fire escapes and a means of egress in and out of a building.

Health codes deal with environmental concerns and sanitary conditions in relation to the property. A health officer may be employed to ensure specific conditions are met at properties in the town to protect against illness and infestations.

In addition to these codes, other codes may be implemented in your area. Some of these additional codes may include, resident codes, blight codes, and maintenance codes. It is important to make sure your property remains up to code at all times to prevent yourself from receiving a violation notice or fine and to protect the occupant’s safety.

For more details on Hillsborough county codes visit www.co.hillsborough.fl.us/hcce/resources/publications/home.cfm.  Pinellas county detailed code information is available at www.pinellascounty.org/build/

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Greg Vander Wel

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