Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

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fsrph
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Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

Received a notice from an out of state city where I own some land. They are going to fine me a per day fee for a code violation. A few months ago a landscaper did some removal of exotic plants on this land.The city requires landscaper to get a permit before removal. So I call the landscaper and he said he did NOT get a permit because what was removed was small. I told him to get a permit ASAP but it sounds like he isn't going to do it. So basically the city is holding me responsible for the landscapers lack of a permit. What should I do?

Francis
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dm200
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by dm200 »

fsrph wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:00 pm Received a notice from an out of state city where I own some land. They are going to fine me a per day fee for a code violation. A few months ago a landscaper did some removal of exotic plants on this land.The city requires landscaper to get a permit before removal. So I call the landscaper and he said he did NOT get a permit because what was removed was small. I told him to get a permit ASAP but it sounds like he isn't going to do it. So basically the city is holding me responsible for the landscapers lack of a permit. What should I do?
Francis
Real dilemma!

Do you have any contacts (especially political) in that jurisdiction. if so, they might be helpful.

How many days will they keep charging you if the plants have been removed? Can the "permit" be backdated?

How did the city even know what happened?
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Sandtrap
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by Sandtrap »

fsrph wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:00 pm Received a notice from an out of state city where I own some land. They are going to fine me a per day fee for a code violation. A few months ago a landscaper did some removal of exotic plants on this land.The city requires landscaper to get a permit before removal. So I call the landscaper and he said he did NOT get a permit because what was removed was small. I told him to get a permit ASAP but it sounds like he isn't going to do it. So basically the city is holding me responsible for the landscapers lack of a permit. What should I do?

Francis
In my experience, pay the fine asap, call the bldg dept and remedy the problem asap. If it requires getting a permit, get it. If it requires putting the plants back, go buy some and put them back.
Jousting with the landscaper is not going to be expedient.
Jousting with the building department is a lose lose.
This is what I did on one occasion.
Ask the landscaper where he put the plants. if he still has them in a private company area and they are still alive, plant them back and get them going again. Of course ask the bldg dept and inspector if this would make them happy.
Or, expedite the permit. They just want the proper forms and docs to code and spec. Donuts help. :D
Or call a number of reputable larger landscaping companies and tell them about your problem. Some will help and make it go away. They know the inspectors and the processes and will help make it right.

As an aside, most building department violations are complaint driven. Did someone complain on you?
I've had a number of vacant lots and there was one that someone always called the city if the weeds got too high. Just plain didn't like me. :oops:
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

dm200 wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:07 pm
fsrph wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:00 pm Received a notice from an out of state city where I own some land. They are going to fine me a per day fee for a code violation. A few months ago a landscaper did some removal of exotic plants on this land.The city requires landscaper to get a permit before removal. So I call the landscaper and he said he did NOT get a permit because what was removed was small. I told him to get a permit ASAP but it sounds like he isn't going to do it. So basically the city is holding me responsible for the landscapers lack of a permit. What should I do?
Francis
Real dilemma!

Do you have any contacts (especially political) in that jurisdiction. if so, they might be helpful.

How many days will they keep charging you if the plants have been removed? Can the "permit" be backdated?

How did the city even know what happened?
The fine didn't start yet. Maybe I wan't clear the exotic plants HAD to be removed from the land as they are not allowed. Yes, the permit can be backdated but it is up to the landscaper to acquire the permit because they have to list tools, chemicals used, etc. The city knew because they sent me a letter that the plants had to be removed. I guess they can keep charging me forever. I see some fines there that go on for years - see some fines over 100K altho those are bargained down to settle them.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by Sandtrap »

My misunderstanding.
The city sent you a letter to remove the plants lst.
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

Sandtrap wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:08 pm
fsrph wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:00 pm Received a notice from an out of state city where I own some land. They are going to fine me a per day fee for a code violation. A few months ago a landscaper did some removal of exotic plants on this land.The city requires landscaper to get a permit before removal. So I call the landscaper and he said he did NOT get a permit because what was removed was small. I told him to get a permit ASAP but it sounds like he isn't going to do it. So basically the city is holding me responsible for the landscapers lack of a permit. What should I do?

Francis
In my experience, pay the fine asap, call the bldg dept and remedy the problem asap. If it requires getting a permit, get it. If it requires putting the plants back, go buy some and put them back.
Jousting with the landscaper is not going to be expedient.
Jousting with the building department is a lose lose.
This is what I did on one occasion.
Ask the landscaper where he put the plants. if he still has them in a private company area and they are still alive, plant them back and get them going again. Of course ask the bldg dept and inspector if this would make them happy.
Or, expedite the permit. They just want the proper forms and docs to code and spec. Donuts help. :D
Or call a number of reputable larger landscaping companies and tell them about your problem. Some will help and make it go away. They know the inspectors and the processes and will help make it right.

As an aside, most building department violations are complaint driven. Did someone complain on you?
I've had a number of vacant lots and there was one that someone always called the city if the weeds got too high. Just plain didn't like me. :oops:
I wasn't clear. The exotic plants needed to be removed as per the city. It is a daily fine. It doesn't end but it hasn't started yet. I can't get a permit myself the landscaper has to fill out their section. I don't think anyone complained but this land is right next to a city owned baseball field and I believe the city may want it someday to expand. But that doesn't explain the landscaper not getting a permit.
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dm200
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

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I wasn't clear. The exotic plants needed to be removed as per the city. It is a daily fine. It doesn't end but it hasn't started yet. I can't get a permit myself the landscaper has to fill out their section. I don't think anyone complained but this land is right next to a city owned baseball field and I believe the city may want it someday to expand. But that doesn't explain the landscaper not getting a permit.
Have you paid the landscaper in full yet?

Were you quoted or billed or charged for the permit the landscaper did not get?

Do you, or might you, have other "leverage" with the landscaper? Such as: online reviews such as homeadvisor, complaint with jurisdiction or licensing entity, adverse experience with group(s) fighting against exotic plants?
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

By the way the fine, if implemented, will be $250 per day.

Francis
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

dm200 wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:31 pm
I wasn't clear. The exotic plants needed to be removed as per the city. It is a daily fine. It doesn't end but it hasn't started yet. I can't get a permit myself the landscaper has to fill out their section. I don't think anyone complained but this land is right next to a city owned baseball field and I believe the city may want it someday to expand. But that doesn't explain the landscaper not getting a permit.
Have you paid the landscaper in full yet?

Were you quoted or billed or charged for the permit the landscaper did not get?

Do you, or might you, have other "leverage" with the landscaper? Such as: online reviews such as homeadvisor, complaint with jurisdiction or licensing entity, adverse experience with group(s) fighting against exotic plants?
Landscaper was paid when he removed the plants months ago. I was charged for removal of Brazilian Pepper plants. The city requires a permit to do this. His reasoning was the plant was small so he didn't get a permit. What bothers me is it looks like he's not even getting a permit now. Online reviews could hurt his reputation but right now I have to avoid the fine - it's $250 per day.

Francis
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." | Dale Carnegie
Yooper
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by Yooper »

In all seriousness, at $250 a day - I'd fly out there asap and get things sorted out. It would be money well spent. Especially if you dropped by the city offices and mention why you're in town. It'd show them that even though you're an "absentee landowner" you take your ownership/responsibilities (and the city's concerns) seriously.
veindoc
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by veindoc »

Can you get the permit form and fill it out based on what he tells you verbally with regards to what chemical/tools etc were used? If the area was small I'm sure it won't be an extensive list. Does the permit require a signature by the landscaper? In my city, this would be sufficient.
Last edited by veindoc on Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mingus
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by Mingus »

Please list the city so I know to never move somewhere where a permit (AKA money grab) is required to remove an invasive species.
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

mrsytf wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:39 pm Can you get the permit form and fill it out based on what he tells you verbally with regards to what chemical/tools etc were used? If the area was small I'm sure it won't be an extensive list. Does the permit require a signature by the landscaper? In my city, this would be sufficient.
That's a good idea. I'll call and ask the city tomorrow.
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

Mingus wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:00 pm Please list the city so I know to never move somewhere where a permit (AKA money grab) is required to remove an invasive species.
Marco Island, Fl. In my opinion the city is unreasonable in dealing with code violations for absentee owners. I received one notice, contracted to have the plant removed and heard nothing from the city in 3 months. Then get a certified letter that they want to fine me. I read where one property there has $340,000 in fines. Money grab is right.

Francis
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Dilbydog
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by Dilbydog »

I’ll make an assumption that the landscaper carries a current contractors license, however, I don’t know Fl contracting law that well. If the landscaper is required to maintain a license, I would file a complaint with the State Contractors License Board. I don’t know if this will allow you to seek remedy agains the landscape contractor who failed to obtain the permit, but it will definitely get their attention, and perhaps motivate them to obtain the permit in hopes you’ll withdraw the complaint. I agree with the other posts, fighting the building department is a lose, lose situation. Especially when you, as the property owner, filed to ensure the proper permits were pulled. That wasn’t meant to be an attack, but in my experience(s), the CBO doesn’t care that your contractor didn’t perform, they look to the property owner.
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JaneyLH
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by JaneyLH »

+1 Contact the contractors licensing board for Florida and lodge a complaint. Contractors have to pull permits for work that requires one. They will contact the contractor and try to convince him to make things right for you. They can eventually pull the license, but they would rather make it go away.

Good luck, I feel for you. I've been in bad situations twice with bad contractors and it is very stressful.
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scorcher31
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by scorcher31 »

Note I don't know that much about landscaping, but if all he did was pull some small shrubs I cant imagine he did anything but shovel/chainsaw, backhoe perhaps. There wouldn't be much a point to spraying chemicals, if he used some weed killer there would be dead plants sitting there and it wouldn't "remove them". I would definitely take a look at the permit form as maybe you can do it with verbal information from the contractor.

Another option might be a hiring another contractor specifically to file the permits for you and perhaps do something else on the property. Worst case scenario have them plant pepper plants there, then remove them again and pay them for all of it with the permits. At least it won't be 250/day. Sounds like a cash grab though I've never heard of permits for small plant removal. Once they are gone you can't undo what you did without a permit, sounds like a cash grab.
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

fsrph wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:26 pm
mrsytf wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:39 pm Can you get the permit form and fill it out based on what he tells you verbally with regards to what chemical/tools etc were used? If the area was small I'm sure it won't be an extensive list. Does the permit require a signature by the landscaper? In my city, this would be sufficient.
That's a good idea. I'll call and ask the city tomorrow.
This was the answer. I called the city and they directed me to their website where I can print out and send in the permit request form. As far as the contractor information they stated I should enter the name and give sort of generic answers to the questions. Like Method of plant identification - just put in "Visual".
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fsrph
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by fsrph »

scorcher31 wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:00 am Note I don't know that much about landscaping, but if all he did was pull some small shrubs I cant imagine he did anything but shovel/chainsaw, backhoe perhaps. There wouldn't be much a point to spraying chemicals, if he used some weed killer there would be dead plants sitting there and it wouldn't "remove them". I would definitely take a look at the permit form as maybe you can do it with verbal information from the contractor.

Another option might be a hiring another contractor specifically to file the permits for you and perhaps do something else on the property. Worst case scenario have them plant pepper plants there, then remove them again and pay them for all of it with the permits. At least it won't be 250/day. Sounds like a cash grab though I've never heard of permits for small plant removal. Once they are gone you can't undo what you did without a permit, sounds like a cash grab.
I thought of that. Plant the pepper plant then remove it. The first landscapers view was the plant was so small he didn't need a permit. But, I spoke to the city environmentalist and he said all exotic plants (no matter how small) require a permit. In my other response, the resolution to this was I was allowed to apply for the permit myself. In the end the city workers were quite helpful in resolving this but I needed multiple calls to get to the right people.

Francis
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." | Dale Carnegie
veindoc
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Re: Landscapers lack of a permit becomes my problem

Post by veindoc »

Glad you got it resolved.
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