Florida Permit Law About to Change

As a real estate agent, I see how Florida law can sometimes negatively affect a home sale. A difficult issue that often arises relates to open permits.

How to sell home with Open Permits

It is no secret that Hurricane Andrew had a profound effect on South Florida. Unfortunately, it is still making its presence known in real estate.

I can’t tell you how many times a home in Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay or any other incorporated city has leftover permit issues from the Andrew era.

Many of the permits simply weren’t closed, as a result of clerical mistakes or an overwhelmed system.

Well, a newly passed bill is now on the Governor’s desk to become law. It allows local governments to close a permit six years after its issuance as long as no apparent safety hazards exist. It also prevents local governments from penalizing property owners for an open permit that was applied for by a previous owner.

I can’t tell you how much sense this makes! I’ll use a Pinecrest home as an example. Let’s say a roof was replaced in 1993 and the final inspection was not conducted, or it was simply not entered into Miami-Dade records. Since then, Pinecrest incorporated (in 1996) and took over all permit responsibilities. Further, the homeowner replaced the roof in 2015.

So, we have an open permit on the County books for a roof that was completely replaced and no longer exists. To make matters worse, the homeowner has no easy recourse since they now have to go through Pinecrest to clear up a Miami-Dade County record.

This often halts a real estate sale in its tracks. And, as I can personally attest, when someone calls the County to try and resolve it, they are told, “Don’t worry about it. It is not actionable.” In short, it is a hot potato that no one wants to handle.

I applaud the Florida Legislature for making sense out of a problematic set of rules surrounding old permits. If signed into law, this will be effective October 1, 2019.

In the meantime, I continue to help my clients work through interesting real estate Catch 22’s like this one. There is so much to learn about when buying or selling a home. Working with a professional can be the difference between failure and success.

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Post Sod Replacement FRONT.jpg

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Palmetto Bay, FL 33157
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FL Makes Texting While Driving a Primary Offense

Thanks to who may be the youngest lobbyist in Florida, on April 29th, the Florida Legislature made texting while driving a primary offense in a 108-7 vote. The bill now goes to the Governor for final signature.


Mark Merwitzer, a driven and focused 19-year old from Palmetto Bay, is one of the main reasons we have this bill (HB 107). Merwitzer has been championing this bill since 2016 when Mark met Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava who not only took him on as an intern, but also put him in touch with a lot of good people, including Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn. It snowballed from there. Over the years, Merwitzer has made several trips to Tallahassee to try to break through bureaucracy and other challenges to support this ‘no-brainer’ law. Two times prior it was defeated, badly. But not this time.


“I am both excited and relieved at the same time,” explained Merwitzer. “I am beyond thrilled to see this get all the way through the legislature and thankful that we will now have a law in place that will save lives and prevent further tragedies from happening. Over the past three years, I have seen the heartbreaking fallout from texting and driving accidents. I met with families who have lost sons, daughters and others to distracted driving and it is immeasurably devastating.”

Daniella Levine Cava remarked, “Mark is both passionate and purposeful. He focused extraordinary energy and strategy to press for this common-sense reform. I am honored to have played a small role, supporting him through an internship and connecting him to county lobbyists, who took him on as part of the team.”


The future for Merwitzer, now a freshman at the University of Florida, is wide open. “I am still figuring out my political future, but I know it will involve giving a voice to people who currently don’t have one,” explains Merwitzer. “I’m involved with student government and the Model United Nations at school and I see room for improvement in almost all forms of government.”

Mark’s passion is about the environment. He also has a keen eye on politicians and government officials who take money and perks from organizations and then tell the public they can fairly and honestly represent the public’s best interests. This is one young man to keep your eye on.