CODE ENFORCEMENT ISSUES
Code Enforcement is directed at violations of the County of Los Angeles Building Codes on private property.
Types of Cases: Unsafe Buildings, Buildings or structures which are structurally unsafe or which constitute a hazard to health, safety, or public welfare. Un-Permitted Buildings, Structures, and Grading.
What to do when you’ve been cited for an illegal garage conversion, illegal guest house conversion, illegal building construction and other Los Angeles City and County Building Code Violations. If you’ve been cited for any form of illegal building code violation, it can be a surprising, scary, and confusing thing. First, know who (or what) you’re up against. To help you start to understand what’s going on and what you have to do – I’m going to give you 3 tips that will help calm your nerves and set you on a course of action.
KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH
If you are reading this website, getting a code citation for your property is a new experience. The type of property you have determines who you deal with. For instance, in Los Angeles, it works this way:
City of LA
Residential Income (Apartment buildings) – Los Angeles Housing & Community Investment Department (in conjunction with the LA Department of Building & Safety)
Single Family Residence – Most of the time this is for houses, but condominiums are covered here too – Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety.
County of LA
(Los Angeles County) Department of Public Works or Regional Planning, Zoning Enforcement Section.
In other Southern California cities and counties, it’s usually a combination of one or more of the agencies used by Los Angeles. So tip #1 is to know who you are dealing with.
KNOW WHY YOU ARE
DEALING WITH A CODE CITATION
The truth is – it’s usually not your fault. Back in 1998, the City of Los Angeles decided to start a Code Enforcement Bureau within its Department of Building & Safety. Theoretically, it was to insure the safety of residential units in the city and to combat the conditions provided by slum-lords. In theory, that’s still true today. Except . . . savvy property owners know the primary reason is to raise REVENUE for the city; every city.
Inspections have become citation-writing exercises. (Unless you’ve been cited) you wouldn’t believe how “ticky-tack” some of the citations are. As the number of inspectors increased, the levels of bureaucracy increased as well. So that’s the real reason you’re being cited; to pay for the bureaucracy and to increase city coffers – and to keep residential properties safe. Theoretically.
WHAT A NOTICE/ ORDER TO COMPLY MEANS FOR HOME-OWNERS
Not only are apartment buildings a prime target, but so are all single family residences especially in the city of Los Angeles through the Department of Building & Safety. This means all changes made to the footprint of the property structure done without permits will need to be permitted, converted back, or demolished. All three options can cost more than you ever imagined.
On a single family house, the most common problems are:
Coverting a Garage to Living or Recreational Space
Second Story Addition
Attic or Basement Conversion
Enclosing a Patio or Porch