Code Enforcement Process
Code violations are identified by citizen complaints or through the direct observations of Code Enforcement Officers. The City of Beaufort adopted the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) and utilizes its model code regulations.
Upon receipt, or observation, of a code violation a Code Enforcement Officer will conduct an inspection to determine if a violation exists. If a violation is noted, the following process takes place:
The Code Enforcement Official will provide notice of the violation in writing, generally accomplished through an orange hangtag left on the property, by letter, or both to property owners/tenants. Code Enforcement attempts to alert property owners who reside elsewhere of violations on their property so they are informed as to issues taking place.
- Notice is provided to educate and inform property owners/tenants about the violation as it pertains to the City of Beaufort Code of Ordinances and the IPMC; it contains a summary of the violation and corrective action that needs to be taken relative to it.
- Notice also includes a statement regarding a property owner’s right to appeal if they feel a violation does not exist.
Conditions that are easily remedied are usually given 5 to 10 days for compliance. Those that are more complicated are provided reasonable timeframes in which to become compliant.
- If you have any questions about a violation, you are encouraged to contact the Code Enforcement Official to discuss the matter so they can help you better understand it, and how to resolve it. Code Enforcement encourages contact and is willing to work with property owners/tenants to develop reasonable timelines to correct issues for more complex issues. As Code Enforcement is often in the field, it is preferable that you call before arriving at the office to ensure someone is there to speak with you.
- The ideal outcome is resolution of the violation within the prescribed timeframe. It is the preference of Code Enforcement to work collaboratively with property owners/tenants to achieve positive outcomes.
- When the violation is corrected, the process ends.
It is always the goal of Code Enforcement to gain compliance; punishment is never the goal. If violations are ignored or not corrected within the time frames noted, then the enforcement process begins.
- Code Enforcement will issue a “2nd Violation Notice”, requesting the violation be resolved without delay.
- Failure to comply at this juncture can result in a citation to appear in Municipal Court.
- If after having been cited to court you can resolve the issue prior to the appearance date, the Code Enforcement Official can elect to void the citation, however they are not required to do so.
If you have not corrected the violation after receiving the 2nd notice, you will be served a citation to appear in court. On your appearance date you will appear before the Judge where you will be granted a trial with regard to the violation. You will have the right to present your case as to why you failed to resolve the issue, or why you feel no violation was present.
- Upon hearing from you and the City Prosecutor, the Judge will make a determination of guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty of the violation, the Judge can order you to correct it, and also fine you for failing to do so in the first place.