Maintaining Safe & Secure Structures
The City will provide inspections for tenants of rental properties and follow through with property owners on correction of any violations. City ordinance also provides authority to secure or condemn and demolish and unsafe structures.
Rental Unit Inspections
A tenant may request an inspection of their rental unit to identify code violations. Tenants are encouraged to first contact their landlord about needed repair or maintenance services. However, if the landlord does not respond, a tenant can request an inspection of the inside of their apartment and the outside public areas of the property. A full inspection report is mailed to the property owner in the form of a violation notice.
Property owners are given a limited amount of time to correct violations. If corrections are not made, the property owner is subject to legal action through the Code Enforcement Board or County court. The tenant's name and telephone number is recorded in a database case record. This information is needed in order to schedule an appointment for the inspection and to record who gave permission to inspect. The tenant must be present when the inspection is conducted. The tenant should also cooperate by allowing the landlord access to appropriate areas of the property in order to perform needed repairs.
Requirements for Rental Property Owners
In addition to requirements for federal, state and local licensing, taxes, etc., owners of residential rental property in St. Pete must maintain the property as required by the minimum property maintenance and zoning codes.
Condemnation & Securing
The City is responsible for securing, condemning, and in some cases demolishing unsafe structures in order to maintain the health and welfare of the citizens of St. Pete. View the Unsafe or Unfit Structures Brochure. Unsafe structures should be reported to the department immediately by calling 727-893-7373.
Condemnation & Demolition of Unsafe Structures
The City ordinance provides authority to secure or condemn and demolish unsafe structures. The cost of these activities are assessed against the property. Because these processes can result in substantial costs, the City code requires several steps to advise the property owner of the City's pending action. Steps include: notice to the owner, recording a notice of intent, and legal advertisement of the intended action.
The City's Building Official is the Person Officially Designated (POD) to condemn unsafe structures. Two Demolition Coordinators handle the notification, evidence gathering and legal condemnation process. Homes and commercial buildings can become unsafe. Usually, a structure becomes unsafe because of deterioration of major structural components which is often caused by age, water intrusion, termite infestation, or fire damage.
Property owners can appeal the Building Official's decision to condemn the structure. In this process, a Hearing Officer reviews evidence from the property owner and the city staff and ensures proper due process. The Hearing Officer has authority to approve a stipulated agreement to allow a property owner to make repairs to a condemned structure.
Securing Vacant & Open Structures
Vacant and open structures pose a hazard to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of St. Pete. An unsecured structure can be an attractive nuisance, or can even harbor criminal activity. City code requires that all structures be secured against unauthorized entry. Unsecured openings (such as windows and doors) on occupied structures must be locked and maintained in good repair. Unsecured or broken windows and doors on vacant structures can be boarded. Should the property owner fail to secure any structure following the required notification, the department is authorized by code to coordinate securing of any vacant structure. Once a structure is secured by the City, it becomes part of a list of Vacant and Boarded Property and is monitored for any other violations approximately every 60 days.