I purchased a OTC property in 2018. I received a letter in the mail from the City of Mobile informing me there is a code violation assessed to the property. The violation: building is unsafe for use or occupancy and the city boarding up the property. The violation fee is $3200. A hearing is schedule in two weeks and I can appear if I have any objections. What are my options if any?
Thanks for assisting....
You can pay the fee or work with local officials with a plan to rehab the property so they will withdraw their violation notice and fee.
@Denise Evans is this common practice for them to withdraw the fee if I rehab the property? I contacted municipal code enforcement and I was told if even I go before city council I would still have to pay the fee. My goal is to rehab the property for rental. What documentation did I need to present during the meeting? The $3200 fee is a big chunk out of my budget.
Thanks for responding.
@Syrica Brown , did you just get the certificate or deed? Is this the first you've heard about the need for repairs, per the city? Contact them BEFORE the hearing. I don't know about Mobile. It varies from city to city. It is not uncommon for then to withdraw the citation if you work with them. They just want to get somebody's attention.
@Denise Evans - I have the certificate. Yes. I contacted municipal code enforcement and basically I was told need to pay the fee before I can start rehab. I was told I can go before council and see if they would reduce or cancel the fee. She informed me the probability of them reducing the fee is none since the city already paid for the boarding of the property. She's never seen the fees reduce. Also, I would need to take of the fee before I can get permit to start the repairs. At lost of what to do...
@Syrica Brown , Lots of urban legends circulating among low level county and city personnel. It doesn't mean that everything they say is true. Go to the hearing. Explain what you want to do, have drawings and cost estimates for all of it and a time frame for completion, and an explanation of where the money is coming from. That makes it all seem real instead of wishful thinking. Explain that if you have to pay the fine, it will delay when you can make your repairs, and you might have to just let the property go to tax auction and possibly be condemned. Explain that you are not the owner, you have just a tax certificate, but you seem to be the only person who cares about repairing the property. You are not personally liable for the fee because you are not the owner. You know they can put a lien on the property, but you might have to just let it go through another auction if that happens. Plead with them to have mercy on you.
If they boarded up the house, they did the work, they will want to be paid for the work they did.
I bought a house next to me from the city years ago. The city bought it from the previous owner and was selling it to me to tear down and split the property with the property owners on the other side. The original owner had to be out by 5:00pm Friday night. He was, and then returned Saturday morning. They city came out on Saturday, the police removed him, and public works came out shortly after, and boarded up the house. Because of the public hearings and such that had to take place for me to purchase it, from this point to when I closed was about a month. When I was given my closing statement for what I owed, it included an assessment from the city for about $2500.00 for boarding up the property. If the former owner had not come back, they would not have boarded it up because of the pending sale to me. They would not remove it. I watched them board it up, and could have done it for about $500.00 myself.
Good luck on it!
I pretty much agree with @Denise Evans .
The only other thing I would add is how solid is this deal? If it's a home run all day long, pay the fine and get going. If it was a $100 buy at an auction because no one else wanted it and the margins are still tight, the politics are turning this into a money and time sink, just walk away.
How do you find the OTC's actual location? The only descriptors given on the Alabama department of revenue are like this:
WEST 60'S LOTS A & B VAUGHAN ESTATES PLAT 5-28A SE
I have been able to look a couple of the properties up via GIS but that is also very difficult.
Take the Parcel ID and look up at the assessors site. Than you have all the information you need.
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