Code Enforcements & Violations
A municipality (township, borough, or other forms of local government) has its own set of laws called ordinances. These ordinances are passed by the governing body of the municipality and enforced by the administrative office of the municipality. The ordinances are collected in a “Code.” Violations of the code are subject to enforcement by the local government.
Many of the ordinances in a code pertain to property matters. For example, an ordinance may require that homes have a certain amount of space between them, restricting the ability of a resident homeowner to put an addition on their house if it comes too close to a neighbor’s property. Other examples include regulating the type of fence a resident can have; putting a shed on the property; or adding a deck to a yard.
Some ordinances pertain to the condition of the property. A municipality may want residents to refrain from parking vehicles on the grass; keep trash off of their front porch; keep their grass length at a certain level; or shovel their sidewalks when it snows within a certain amount of time.
If a resident of a municipality violates an ordinance in the municipal code, then the municipality has the right and duty to enforce their laws. Sometimes a resident is given a warning and a certain amount of time to come into compliance with the code. Other times, the resident is given a citation for a code violation, similar to a traffic ticket, and is fined until the violation is corrected.
Code violation citations can be fought in a local District Justice’s office, but the municipalities typically prevail at this level. The resident can appeal to a local court of common pleas if they lose at the first level.
Why You Need An Attorney
An attorney can give you advice on handling a code violation. Sometimes a resident can go to a hearing before the local zoning authority and get permission to do something prohibited by the local code. An attorney can evaluate a resident’s chances of prevailing in such a hearing and handle the hearing, presenting evidence to convince the zoning board that an exception to the local code is permissible.
An attorney can help a resident present their best case to fight a code violation before a district justice or court of common pleas if that is where the dispute ends up. An attorney also has the training and ability to negotiate with a local government and their solicitor. A municipal code is the law for anyone living in the municipality that enacted that code. An attorney is trained to understand the law, and any changes to the law, and to help their clients who find themselves in some sort of violation of local law.
Get The Legal Help You Need
To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys, contact us online or by telephone at 484-272-5133.