Hazardous conditions arising from building code violations

Florida law provides for fines to be assessed upon builders who violate building codes in the state, thereby creating potentially hazardous and noncompliant structures. When a possessor or owner of a building is made aware of the existing hazardous condition and does nothing to repair it or negligently completes repairs, liability may result if someone is injured by the hazardous condition.

People owe different duties of care to different classes of people who are present on their property. Invitees are those who have been invited by the property’s owner or possessor or who are present in order to do business. They are owed the highest duty of care. Property owners or possessors owe a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for people who are invitees, which includes a duty to maintain the premises and to correct known hazards.

When a property owner receives notice of an existing building code violation and does nothing to correct it, he or she may be held liable if someone on the premises is injured due to the existence of the known hazardous condition. This duty extends to a degree to all visitors, although the duty of care owed to a trespasser is the lowest one.

In addition to fines, people whose hazardous property conditions cause injury to others may be civilly liable for injuries suffered under a theory of premises liability. This liability can extend to cover dangerous conditions caused by allowing property to fall into a state of disrepair. Some examples could include such things as exposed wiring that could lead to electrocution injuries, non-repaired cracks in flooring over which people could trip and other such hazards.

Source: Online Sunshine , “553.781 Licensee accountability.—“, October 13, 2014