Lien Reduction Program
Where a code compliance order imposing fines has been recorded in the public records constituting a lien against the property and other property of the violator, such property owner may request to participate in the fine/lien forgiveness program pursuant to Resolution 21-1576.
After reviewing the below criteria and if you have a property that qualifies, please contact Brittany Gelm with the Code Compliance Division to receive an application for the program.
- The property at issue must be in full compliance with the City of Longwood Code of Ordinances.
- Liens must have a minimum face value of $5,000.00 and must have been in place for at least one year prior to the application date for this program.
- Only liens from code compliance violations are eligible for this program.
- The property owner must not have active code violations on any other property in the City of Longwood
- Property owners with multiple code compliance liens on a property must apply for a reduction of each lien on the property simultaneously under the program.
- A property owner may only use the code compliance lien forgiveness program one time on a particular property. Subsequent owners of the same property may use the program.
- The property owner must fill out and submit an application to reduce the code compliance fines/lien using the Code Compliance Lien Forgiveness Program form attached hereto as Exhibit “A” or such substantially similar form as the City Manager shall have the ability from time to time to create.
- A non-refundable application fee of $500.00 must be paid to the City. The application fee is meant to offset the City’s cost in evaluating the application, including the need to review the code compliance case file and the compliance status of the property. The application fee is not partial payment of any code compliance fines or previous costs incurred by the City in the code compliance process.
- Once an application and the required application fee for fine/lien forgiveness is received, the code compliance officer shall evaluate the application for completeness, confirm that the property is in compliance with the code, and review eligibility for the fine/lien forgiveness program based on the criteria set forth in this resolution. If deemed eligible, the code compliance officer will calculate the total outstanding code compliance fines and provide the property owner with the amount to be paid under this forgiveness program.
- If the property is eligible under this program, the property owner will be responsible for payment to the City of 15% of the lien’s face value (i.e. total accrued code compliance fines outstanding) within fifteen (15) days from the code compliance officer confirming that the application meets the requirements for forgiveness and providing the amount to be paid to satisfy the lien/fines.
- If 15% fine/lien amount is timely paid, either the Mayor or City Manager shall have the authority to execute a satisfaction of the code compliance fine/lien and cause it to be recorded in the public records. If the 15% fine/lien amount is not timely paid, then the total outstanding fines/lien shall remain in place.
- Eligibility Criteria. To be eligible for the lien reduction program, staff will consider the following criteria:
- The severity of the code violation and whether it involved the existence of a condition dangerous to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of Longwood.
- Whether the code violation was a repeat violation by the applicant on either the same property or on other properties owned by the applicant in the City.
- Where the applicant is the property owner responsible for the violation, staff will consider whether the applicant has demonstrated evidence of exigent circumstances at the time of the violation that prevented timely compliance with the order of the special magistrate. Exigent circumstances are pressing or demanding conditions that would prevent a reasonable person from being able to timely remedy the code violation in compliance with the order of the special magistrate.
- Where the applicant is different from the property owner responsible for the violation, staff will consider whether the new property owner took immediate action to address the code violation, or whether the applicant is willing to commit to a timeline for resolving the violation in an agreement satisfactory to the City.
- The duration of the code violation.
- Whether the applicant holds unsatisfied liens on other property owned by the applicant. Where the reduction is related to a pending real estate transaction, whether the resulting proposed development is in the best interest of the City of Longwood.
- Where the lien is reduced related to a proposed real estate transaction, the applicant must specify the proposed redevelopment and/or intended use of the property. Where the City finds that the proposed redevelopment and/or intended use of the property is credible, supported by the Longwood Development Code, and otherwise in the best interest of the City, as a condition of reducing the fines/liens the City Manager may require the applicant to enter into an agreement with the City specifying the conditions and milestones that need to be achieved for the fines/liens being reduced. If the property is not developed or used consistent with such agreement, the fines and lien can be reinstated or not reduced.
Additionally, the City Manager is delegated authority to negotiate and partially or fully waive and release code enforcement fines and liens and execute a satisfaction of the code compliance fine/lien and cause such satisfaction to be recorded in the public records in the following situations:
- The City Manager determines, after receiving advice from the City Attorney and with written justification filed with the City Clerk, that the City’s ability to collect upon a code enforcement fine/lien has been substantially prejudiced or diminished due to a court judgment, mortgage foreclosure action, estate action or other similar legal action, or upon a finding by the City Attorney that the lien is unenforceable.
- In a situation where the City has awarded a grant to a property subject to a code enforcement fine/lien to assist in its redevelopment or rehabilitation and the City Manager determines that waiving or reducing the code enforcement fine/lien enables the redevelopment or rehabilitation of such property to occur. The City Manager may negotiate and execute an agreement with the property owner and/or intended purchaser or developer of the property committing them to deadlines relating to the redevelopment or rehabilitation of the property as a condition of code enforcement fine/lien waiver and release.