Why We Enforce || Where We Enforce || Most Common Violations || What We Enforce
What We Do Not Enforce || Tips to Avoid A Code Enforcement Citation
What If I Am Cited? || Notifications, Hearings and Appeals || Other Community Resources
The Municipal Code Compliance Division of the Environmental and Compliance Department enforces local ordinance code Chapter 518 - Property Safety and Maintenance Code and Chapter 656 - Zoning Code, which addresses:
- Housing Safety
- Property Maintenance Standards (Residential and Commercial)
- Unsafe Structures
- Nuisance Properties
- Junk and Abandoned Vehicles
- Zoning - Residential Use
- Zoning - Industrial Use
- Zoning - Agriculture, Public Buildings and Facilities and Conservation and Recreation
- Zoning - Planned Unit Development (PUD)
- Zoning - Architectural/Aesthetic Regulations for Single Family Dwellings
- Zoning - Mobile Homes, Mobile Home Parks
- Zoning - Off-Street Parking and Loading for Motor Homes
- Zoning - Nonconforming Lots, Uses and Structures
- Zoning - Alcoholic Beverages Conformity
- Zoning - Excavations, Lakes and Borrow Pits
Why We Enforce
The City of Jacksonville acknowledges the need to enforce property maintenance standards and to ensure a reasonable quality of life for the city's residents and neighborhoods.
Citizens play an important part in keeping our community attractive, clean, and safe. Through education, awareness, and self-enforcement, we can all contribute to making Jacksonville the best city in which to live, work, and raise a family.
Where We Enforce
All privately-owned properties, structures, and parts thereof, including but not limited to:
- Parking lots
- Vacant lots
- Commercial buildings
Most Common Violations
- Junk or abandoned vehicles with expired or missing license plates
- Accumulation of garbage, rubbish, trash and/or debris
- Excessive growth of weeds, grass, or noxious vegetation
- Potentially dangerous dead trees and/or limbs
- Conditions which could breed or harbor insects, rodents, or other pests
- Unmaintained swimming pools
- Dangerous or deteriorated electrical fixtures, wiring, or devices
- Fences, gates, or accessory structures in disrepair
- Drainage, plumbing, sewer or septic system blockage or failure
- Structural deterioration, rotten wood, peeling paint
- Improper stacking or storage of materials
- Unclean and unsanitary conditions
- Failure to maintain minimum residential and commercial standards
- Residential animals
- Residential fence heights
- Yard sales in excess of zoning requirements
- Residential Vehicle Sales
- Residential Accessory Structures
- Residential Recreational Vehicles
- Vehicle repair in residential districts
- Commercial vehicle or trailer in residential districts
- Commercial buffers/fencing
- Industrial Use
- Certificate of Use (failure to obtain)
- Temporary personal storage container in prohibited zoning districts
What We Enforce
Residential and Commercial
The Property Safety and Maintenance Code requires maintenance standards for all residential and commercial structures. The code addresses violations inside and outside the structure, from excessive trash and junk in the yard to obstructed sewer lines and improper plumbing or electric installations. Failure to correct violations of this section may result in a paying citation to the owner or tenant, referral of the owner to the Special Magistrate for prosecution or abatement per Ordinance 2007-286-E.
The Property Safety and Maintenance Code addresses any structure, which is structurally unsound and/or unsafe and may be in a vacant, open, and unguarded condition. If necessary, the city may take action to demolish or board the structure. Failure to correct violations of this section may result in referral of the owner to the Special Magistrate for prosecution or compliance by city contractor.
High grass, trash and/or debris on vacant lots and occupied properties constitute violations of the nuisance section of the ordinance. Failure to correct violations of this section may result in removal of violations (abatement) by city contractor with related contracting and administrative costs (liens) placed on the property. In addition, violations may result in referral of the owner to the Special Magistrate for prosecution and possible subsequent fines, which 'roll' or continue until the owner complies all cited violations.
Conditions Prohibited and Declared Public Nuisances
- An excessive accumulation or untended growth or weeds, grass, underbrush or undergrowth or other noxious vegetation (but not including trees, plants or other vegetation protected by law)
- A building, structure, premise, or other place which provides uncontrolled breeding places, protection, or shelter for rodents, vermin or other pests
- A wholly or partially manmade pool, pond, or other body of water which tends to produce disease vectors, biting insects and/or pests. In addition, in case of swimming pools, water quality and clarity may be declared a threat to or endangerment of public health and safety when the clarity of the pool water is such that the main drain grate is not completely visible to a person standing on the pool deck, or the recirculation system or disinfection feeding equipment is missing or not functioning
- Obstructions or diversion of the natural or artificial flow of water, whether by dams, blocks or other means, which tend to produce or results in the stagnation of water
- Garbage, trash, rubbish or debris. Section 518.213 sets forth residents' responsibilities to separate yard trash, trash and garbage. Trash, garbage and recyclables shall be placed separately at curbside no sooner than 5 p.m. of the day before scheduled collection and any garbage/recyclables receptacles shall be removed by 6 a.m. the following day.
- A dead tree or dead tree limbs which threaten or endanger public safety and/or welfare
- An unsafe or unsanitary condition not included within the meaning of the above list of public nuisances, such as structures left vacant, open and unguarded, or raw sewage on the ground
NOTE: Conditions cited above must be terminated, corrected or abated within 15 days of the date of notice, unless otherwise instructed by notice or citation to comply within a specified time period.
Junk vehicles are defined as: inoperable vehicles which threaten or endanger public safety or welfare; creates a blighting influence upon the neighborhood where the vehicle rests; or is, or may reasonably become, infested or inhabited by rodents, vermin or other animals, or may furnish a breeding place for rodents, vermin, or animals.
Abandoned vehicles are defined as: vehicles that do not bear a license plate, or on which the displayed license plate is invalid, unless said vehicle is stored within a completely enclosed building or unless it is stored on a bona fide sales lot or an automobile storage yard or automobile wrecking yard, which threaten or endanger public safety or welfare; create a blighting influence upon the neighborhood where the vehicle rests, or; is, or may reasonably become, infested, or inhabited by rodents, vermin or other animals, or may furnish a breeding place for rodents, vermin or other animals. Inoperable, when referring to a vehicle, means the vehicle is incapable of being immediately driven, moved, or pulled in the manner for which it is intended or designed.
Residential Land Use covers permitted uses and structures, permitted accessory uses and structures, permissible uses by exception, minimum lot requirements, minimum lot coverage by all buildings and structures, minimum yard requirements and maximum height of structures in the Residential Rural, Residential Low Density and Residential High Density categories.
Commercial Land Use covers permitted uses and structures, permitted accessory uses and structures, permissible uses by exception, minimum lot requirements, minimum lot coverage by all buildings and structures, minimum lot requirements, maximum height of structures and limitations on permitted and permissible uses by exception in the Commercial Office, Commercial Residential and Office, Commercial Neighborhood and Commercial Community/General categories.
Industrial Land Use covers permitted uses and structures, permitted accessory uses and structures, permissible uses by exception, minimum and maximum lot requirements, minimum lot coverage by all buildings and structures, maximum height of structures and limitations on permitted and permissible uses by exception in the Industrial Business Park, Light Industrial, Heavy Industrial and Public Buildings and Facilities categories.
Agriculture Land Use covers permitted uses and structures, permitted accessory uses and structures, permissible uses by exception, permitted accessory uses and structures in the Agriculture and Public Building and Facilities categories.
Most Common Zoning Violations
- Certification of Use: Businesses who have obtained a valid business license but have failed to obtain a valid Certificate of Use through the Planning and Development Department.
- Parking of certain vehicles in certain districts: Heavy trucks and truck/tractors, motor vehicles equipped with machinery, school buses, commercial wreckers, hearses, ambulances, passenger vehicles for ten persons or more, trucks used for agricultural purposes and semi-trailers drawn by a truck tractor by means of a fifth wheel arrangement, shall not be parked in off-street parking lots, access to highways, on private property in residential neighborhoods or in CO, CRO,CCG-1 or CN districts, or on any public right-of-way except as may be required for normal loading or unloading of such vehicles and during the time normally required for service at dwellings or at structures or activities permitted or permissible in these zoning districts by the terms of the Zoning Code.
- Parking and storage of recreational vehicles and boats: No recreational vehicles shall be used for living, sleeping or housekeeping purposes when parked or stored on a residentially-zoned lot or in another location not approved for this use. Boats, boat trailers, horse trailers or any other trailer and recreational vehicles may be parked or stored in a required rear or side yard but not in required front yards, provided however, that these vehicles may be parked anywhere on residential premises not to exceed 24 hours during loading and unloading.
- Fencing Violations: Fencing exceeding four feet in required front yard of residentially zone property.
- Planned Unit Developments: Violation of the site plans and conditions that have been established within the planned unit development boundaries.
- Required Front Yard Setbacks in Residential Districts: Accessory structures, car ports, etc. in required front, side, or rear yards (front = 25 feet, side = 10 feet, and rear - 10 feet).
- Residential Group Homes: Exceeding 6 residents per home and/or less than minimum of 1,000 feet clearance between homes.
What We Do Not Enforce
- Vehicles on public streets or rights-of–way
- Commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods
- Off-site signs
- Deed covenants or restrictions
Tips To Avoid A Code Enforcement Citation
- Maintain property appearance
Cut yards regularly, remove any trash/debris, abandoned/junk vehicles, deteriorated structures, dead trees and/or dead limbs.
- Maintain exterior structures' appearance
Scrape and paint and/or replace or repair defective exterior surfaces.
- Maintain the building
Repair or replace loose, damaged, rotted, worn or missing components such as foundations, walls, roofs, windows, doors, porches, handrails, awnings, siding and trim.
- Maintain electrical and plumbing systems
Repair or replace faulty or exposed wiring, fixtures and components immediately. Leaking, corroded or obstructed plumbing systems should be repaired or replaced in a timely manner. Electric, water, and sewer/septic services are required for all occupied dwellings.
- Maintain interior components
Repair or replace worn, torn or damaged flooring, deteriorated wall surfaces, broken, damaged or missing window or door hardware.
- Maintain all water heaters, appliances, systems and pumps according to manufacturers' recommendations.
Heating systems are required to be permanently installed, properly connected and capable of heating the entire dwelling to at least 65 degrees under minimum winter conditions.
- Smoke alarms
At least one properly operating smoke detector is required on each floor of a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit, located adjacent to each sleeping area.
- Keep property safe and sanitary
Address ANY issues that may pose an imminent threat to health or safety IMMEDIATELY.
- Recreational vehicles
Do no park recreational vehicles of any type in required front yard longer than 24 hours.
Do not erect any fence taller than 4 feet in height in front yard in residential districts.
- Commercial vehicles
Do not park commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods except for normal loading/unloading during normal time required for service at dwellings.
- Certificate of Use
When applying for a business license, ensure you follow up to obtain a certificate of use permit from the Planning and Development Department.
What If I Am Cited?
- Don't ignore the notification of violation. Read it closely and understand there is a time limit for compliance, and penalties for failure to comply exist.
- It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure violations are corrected, including rental or leased properties.
- Make all required repairs, corrections, improvements and/or removals as soon as possible to avoid further proceedings
- If you need further clarification of any alleged violation, don't wait. Call the Code Enforcement Officer as soon as possible.
- If you believe the violation is not on your property, or you have sold the property or released ownership, please call 630-CITY (630-2489) immediately.
Notifications, Hearings and Appeals
Notifications [Section 518.206(b)]
'The mailing of the notice shall be sufficient proof thereof, and the delivery or service of notice shall be equivalent to mailing. For the purpose of notice requirements to a property owner, the owner shall be deemed to be the owner recorded on the current records in the office of the Property Appraiser. If the mailing address of the person is not known to the Chief of Municipal Code Compliance or the records do not reveal a change of ownership of the property involved or the property is unoccupied, the posted notice on the property shall constitute sufficient notice to the owner, custodian, agent, lessee, trustee or occupant thereof and no additional notice shall be required for any action hereunder.'
NOTE: Please ensure your current mailing address is on public record in the Duval County Property Appraiser's Office. Code Enforcement is required by State Statutes to use the tax rolls in the Property Appraiser's Office.
A Special Magistrate hears testimony from the Code Enforcement Officer and property owner(s) to determine if the violations exist, set timelines for compliance, and may issue fines of up to $250.00 per day in cases where the property owner does not comply within the ordered timeframe.
The Municipal Code Compliance Division must receive timely appeals, as follows:
- Within the timeframe set in the initial notification letter sent to you, normally within 15 or 30 days, depending on the type of violation you were cited for.
- The cost of the appeal is $100.00 (non-refundable, CHECK OR MONEY ORDER ONLY) effective July 17, 2009.
- The application for appeal is available at the front desk of Municipal Code Compliance Division located at 407 N. Laura St., 2nd Floor, Suite 200. The application and check or money order must be hand delivered to this location. No payments will be accepted by mail.
Other Community Resources
Streets & Drainage 630-CITY
Building Permits & Inspections 630-CITY
Planning and Development Department 630-CITY
Mosquito Control 630-CITY
Solid Waste 630-CITY
Duval County Health Department (DCHD) 630-3300
Biomedical Waste (DCHD) 630-3260
Animal Care & Protective Services 630-CITY
Social Services 744-4669
Department of Business & Professional Regulation (850) 487-1295