Like people, neighborhoods and structures in Palm Beach County require maintenance to stay in good condition as they age. Inevitably, structures and neighborhoods that are not properly maintained deteriorate. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that abandoned or boarded-up buildings nearby can reduce the value of a home by 13%. Trash in a neighborhood can reduce values by 15%! Consequently, property values fall, vandalism and crime occur more frequently and the residents of neighborhoods become uncomfortable.There is a simple solution to maintaining good neighborhoods - property owner responsibility. Unfortunately, some people are not responsible property owners. Citizens expect government to create minimum standards for housing, yard maintenance, parking, etc., to protect them from substandard living conditions.
This web page is provided to explain some of the standards enforced by the Code Enforcement Division of Palm Beach County. Use the checklist below to evaluate your property. Descriptions of the most common code violations follow. Please review this information and take action to be a responsible property owner.Structures
Repair: Rotted wood, broken or missing boards, broken or missing windows, siding or shingles and make all exterior parts weather tight, rodent-proof and sound. Exteriors must be resistant to water and be covered with paint, waterproof stain, siding, brick or stone that is in good condition.
- Exterior walls
- Roof structure, including rafters, soffits, fascia
- Roof covering
- Railing on stairs, elevated landings and porches
- Fences (should be in good repair and of legal height)
- Windows and screens
- Trim all hedges in front yard to a height of four feet or less and eight feet or less in the rear or side yards.
- Overgrowth in excess of 18" is a violation of the County's Lot Clearing Ordinance.
- Vehicles must be in an operable condition, able to move under their own power.
- The keeping of unregistered or unlicensed vehicles on residential property is prohibited. However, one vehicle may be kept on the premises which is not currently registered or licensed, provided the vehicle is screened from view from adjacent roadways and lots.
- County regulations do not allow the parking or storage of vehicles in excess of one ton carrying capacity in a residential district.
- Garage Sales are permitted twice per year, each not exceeding 72 hours.
- Home businesses must be properly licensed. No traffic, outside display or storage may occur and the business must be clearly secondary to the use of the property as a home. Additional zoning criteria apply. Call 233-5200 for information.
Some of the More Frequent Code Violations
Yard Maintenance Standards
Yard maintenance is the responsibility of every property owner. Grass height must not exceed 18", whether the property is developed or vacant. Hedges must be maintained no greater than 4' in the front yard and 8' in the side and rear yard areas. Garbage, trash and yard waste cannot be left in the yard and must be properly disposed of. Residential garbage includes small kitchen, food and household discards, and is collected twice each week. It must be bagged or placed in a proper container and placed street-side for pick up. Trash includes bulk waste such as furniture, mattresses and yard trimmings. These items are collected once per week. White goods (refrigerators, stoves, water heaters, etc.) are collected twice per week. For information regarding collection, please call the Solid Waste Authority at 697-2700.
Garbage Can Regulations
County Ordinance 96-9 prohibits the placement of garbage cans and other refuse containers curbside for trash pickup prior to 3:00 p.m. the day before your regularly scheduled pickup. Additionally, the Ordinance requires that all refuse containers be removed from the pickup area the same day collection is made.
Inoperable/Unlicensed Motor Vehicles
An inoperable vehicle is one that cannot be driven. Open storage of inoperable vehicles on residential property is prohibited. Any vehicle that does not operate must be in an enclosed structure, such as a garage or completely in a carport. Only one unlicensed vehicle may be kept on residential property, provided it is screened from view.
Outdoor storage of equipment, materials or furnishings is prohibited on residential property. Likewise, indoor furniture, household appliances, auto parts or building materials may not be stored outside.
County codes do not allow the storing or parking of vehicles which have a carrying capacity in excess of one ton in residential areas; on side streets or private property.
Structures Erected Without Permits
In Palm Beach County, most structures and improvements to structures require building permits. Improvements such as decks, fences, patio slabs, concrete or asphalt driveways and sheds also require permits. Before beginning any home improvement project, it is wise to contact the Building Division at 233-5120 to determine whether permits are required.
Boats are required to be parked on the side of, or in the rear of residential dwellings, and must be screened from surrounding property and streets with an opaque wall, fence or hedge a minimum of six feet in height.
If You Receive A Notice of Violation
Take action to correct the violation. If you have questions, or if you are working toward correcting the violation, but need additional time due to special circumstances, call the Code Enforcement Officer at 233-5500.
If prompt action is not taken to bring the violation into compliance, there are several possible consequences. The County may arrange to have a lot mowed or vacant structure boarded up or demolished, and a lien filed against the property for the service. You may be served with a Notice of Hearing, requiring your appearance before the Special Magistrate. The Special Magistrate will hear your case and issue an order directing you to correct the violation within a specified time. If corrective measures are not completed as required, fines and liens may be placed against your property.