Abusive Code Enforcement

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I have begun to notice a pattern in complaints about code enforcement agencies lately.

One is that certain cities (especially large charter cities) have changed their opinions regarding what they want out of code enforcement. They used to want to use code enforcement tools to eliminate blight and come into compliance.  Now, it seems that many cities want to generate revenue from code enforcement instead of compliance.

The second pattern is that code enforcement is abusing their discretion.  In order to make money, little infractions become major code enforcement violations.  Dormant trees in the winter become unmaintained landscaping. A burnt patch of summer grass becomes lack of landscaping.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Michael Reiter is a partner with Cole Huber LLP
2855 E. Guasti Road, Suite 402
Ontario, CA 91761

About Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
Michael Reiter is a Redlands, California-based lawyer, serving San Bernardino County and Riverside County in Southern California's Inland Empire. Michael Reiter is a lawyer practicing in the following fields of law: Municipal Law, Code Enforcement Law, Small Business Law and Real Estate Law. Michael Reiter practices in all the local courts, including San Bernardino Superior Court, Riverside Superior Court, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Michael Reiter was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. Michael Reiter was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Michael Reiter serves all of San Bernardino and Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. Michael Reiter can be reached at (909) 296-6708, or by electronic mail at michael@michaelreiterlaw.com. 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

One Response to Abusive Code Enforcement

  1. First, thank you for posting this blog. After the current (my first) incident with an administrative citation for weeds and grasses, I agree that it appears that San Bernardino County is looking for revenue instead of compliance. My front yard was cited as a “fire hazard” for mixed grass and weeds that were watered and mowed regularly. Never was the grass more than 4 inches tall. Furthermore, as a tenant of the property in question, I was not notified. No door notice, no notice from my landlord. Nothing. Not until the delinquent notice went out a month later did I receive an email from my landlord and a $150 fine from the county. I live at the residence and work from home, so I am at home most of the day, and probably was home when the inspector came by on a Thursday morning in May. San Bernardino County simply failed to notify me, the tenant, of the alleged code violation. Why? Perhaps to force me into unwitting non-compliance, and then fine me $150 later. A great way to obtain revenue, isn’t it? And SB County can always blame the landlord for not forwarding an assumed email notice to the tenant.

    A. V. Mickel, Yucaipa

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