The process of 40 year recertification in Broward County, and the county tallies your number of units vs the city's record.
As a specialist in multi-family investment properties in the South Florida metro area, I've become an advocate for Middle Core real estate owners. The following article documents my investigation of the processes, paperwork, and anomalies behind the process of 40-year recertification in Broward County. Let's dive in!
Did you know that in North Miami, North Miami Beach and Hialeah every time there is any sale of an apartment building the buyer or seller is obligated to undergo a 40 year recertification process with Broward County? In these cities, prior to closing a city representative will walk the property to make sure the city’s records match that of the physical property.
If there is a discrepancy the subject property will have an issue with code. If the sale is subject to financing, guess what..... the transaction will probably get busted because the buyer will have to make up the difference between the sales price and the lender’s reduced LTV based on income due to a reduced number of unit(s).
Obviously, this practice can be problematic to property owners and buyers. Since, the city of Hollywood may sometime in the future adopt a similar policy, we chose to dive into this question through meeting with the City of Hollywood's Planning Manger.
The Process of 40 year Recertification in Broward County, County Records and the City of Hollywood's Records
About 2 weeks ago I had a scheduled meeting with Leslie Del Monte, planning manager for the Department of Development Services within the City of Hollywood. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the city was counting units and the economic hardship created when Broward County reports a greater number of units than what is on record for the City of Hollywood.
What I was able to find out is Hollywood is using records for the recertification process that were obtained from third party dating back to the 1970’s as their primary data source for determining the legal number of units. FYI, I have requested a copy of the information through a public request for information, freedom of information act and will continue to request that information until it is obtained.
Leslie acknowledged that any information prior to the nineteen seventies is unreliable due to the fire and flood that took place some years ago and destroyed much of Hollywood’s archived information regarding permits, and blueprints. Thus, the City of Hollywood has turned to third party information to fill the gaps left by this loss of data.
I was told unequivocally that the information obtained on a Certificate of Use is not forwarded to the code division when there is a discrepancy regarding the number of units. However, having said that she did acknowledge that they work closely with code when queried by the officers for the legal number of units, provided by the third party (if not available as per original records).
Note that if you're planning a sale of your property, the question of the legal number of units may become pertinent. We will update you as information becomes available. This information will be continuously reviewed and reported as this potentially affects all of properties moving forward. If you have any questions or comments feel free to call me at any time.