I recently bought a home in Miami to renovate, and hold that was listed as a duplex. Prior to purchase I searched the property records and it was listed/zoned multi-family, with a land use of multi-family. After closing I presented my renovation plans to the building dept/zoning; they said that although the property appraisers office taxes the property as a multi family home it is a single family home with a legal non-conforming guest house. After arguing with them for sometime I gave up on the multi family declaration and went forward with plans for a single family home with a guest house. After 6 months of plans reviews for electrical, plumbing, zoning, etc we are at the point now where all the building department is now asking for is a single family home Convenant. If Zoning records have this property Zoned Single Family home why are they asking me to have an attorney draft a single family home convenant? could they perhaps be “tricking” me into legally converting to a single family home when I have the rights to use as multi family? I’ve been paying a mortgage on a property that I do not yet live in for 6 months and this is getting expensive so I’m not sure if I should now seek legal advice which can be more costly. Winning against government offices is a long shot but I feel that Im getting screwed here.
The city of Miami is only interested in screwing its property owners for as much as they can, hence the 6 months drag on plan reviews which they hit you up for $60 a pop, plus permits.
Anyone with a similar experience please advice.
OK, this home in Miami was re-zoned from multi family (2 units per lot) to a R-1 (Residential one unit per lot with guest house OK) grandfathering the 2 unit per lot zoning to existing properties and making all new properties or those remodeling compliant to the new R-1, so in order for the planning and zoning department to get rid of existing multi unit old zoning their requiring new remodels or building to file a "Single Family Home Covenant" to ensure no existing owner can ask for permits, but still go back to the old 2 unit per lot grandfathered zoning.
Basically the city is going to all single family homes or single family with guest house on the same single utility connection ensuring it can’t be 2 rentals.
dro007 is going to have the “Single Family Home Covenant” written and prepared by an attorney and he will sign, notarize and record the covenant agreeing to the new zoning and giving up the right to the old 2 units per lot zoning designation.
One might consider using an administrative process against the individuals who participated in selling the property to you without full disclosure. The administrative process is using contract offer and acceptance to hook the perpetrator(s) into liability for the injury which he/they caused you. If it were me, I would use in this order:
Affidavit of Truth to be filed into public record, send to perpetrators and give them X days (I would use 10 or 14 unless a bank is involved; then I use 3 days) to refute your affidavit/testimony with their own affidavit, swearing under penalty of perjury, with full and unlimited personal liability, then when they don’t respond (which they won’t if you are telling the truth, they cannot refute and swear under oath as that would be committing perjury) issue an affidavit of non response, then send a notice of fault with default provisions such as if they do not refute with an affidavit within X days (2nd chance) their non response will be documented and constitutes agreement (contract offer) to consent to $X in administrative judgment, commercial lien, and add anything else you want for the injury, then Affidavit of Non-Response, Notice of Default, Notice of Administrative Judgment, then lien them for their dishonor in commerce and injury to you. Then they have consented by tacit agreement for you to make a commercial lien against them.
After that, it is likely you can submit to their insurance E & O Policy to pay your claim for the injury they caused you for not fully disclosing in the transaction.
As an alternate, one could consider using the judicial system for the same above, only one would then be sharing in the proceeds with the legal community and court system.
Hope this helps.
There was no fast one pulled by either agency, the property was originally zoned 40 or 50 years before as multi unit R-2 type zoning and 10 or 15 years ago the cities master plan changed and all homes in this area were re-zoned R-1 allowing a single family home with guest house.
In order to do a remodel and get a building permit owners must file a single family home covenant. The zoning was not hidden or lied about and every lot has the right to continue renting two individual units by grandfathering, but if you want a permit you must be remodeling to put the house and guest house on one meter for each utility and you must agree to wave your rights to the old R-2 type zoning so the official acknowledgement to this new zoning and code is filing the single family home covenant.
There is nothing nefarious going on and full disclosure was known by all parties.