ChezGigi

Fractured Fallacies of a Finagling Fact Finder and Obfuscating Humorist

A Woman's Guide To The Universe

Code Enforcement And Las Vegas Homeowners: What’s The Buzz?

Code Enforcement and Las Vegas homeowners are having some fun. The city of Las Vegas is out to drum up some business for contractors, I imagine, while haranguing homeowners about structures that have been in place since the 1970’s. It’s always nice to get those fat fines and fees rolling in, too. Especially when responsible, tax paying citizens have to pay them. Who else could afford them?

I wrote about our neighbor across the street being raided by the sheriff’s department for an apartment that’s built into the side of the house. We have one that’s permitted, so I think his must have been fairly new and un-permitted.

Imagine being raided for an illegal apartment. It wasn’t even a meth lab. Those are now permitted, according to the new codes legislated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

This isn’t true, so please don’t start your own meth lab.

These little apartments, like AirBnB houses, cut drastically into the casino/hotel business, so I can certainly understand the city’s reluctance to help alleviate the shortage of rentals for people pouring into Las Vegas. Better these new residents should live at Caesar’s.

This house was bought in 1995, complete with structures that have been on it since the 70s. The garage and the casita have been on site since then, and the casita and main house have been continuously rented since the mid-90s when Don bought it. He bought it as a triplex, and lived in the apartment attached to the main house. The casita is nice little house with its own yard; separate and private. It even has its own driveway. They aren’t secret dwellings; it’s all on file with the city.

Regardless, suddenly all our neighbors are being dinged for structures that have been on their properties since I can remember: the mid-90s. The neighbor two doors down was told she’d have to tear down her carport and rebuild it three feet away from the wall. A little old lady isn’t going to be able to do that herself. It requires the hiring of a builder/contractor. The puzzle pieces begin to fall into place.

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We were told our garage needed to be torn down and moved, and that the casita would need to either be modified or torn down. This isn’t like popping out the pieces of a snap together play house. These are stick and brick structures with electrical wiring, plumbing, the whole bit. It’s a big job.

Further, the change in ownership entailed a title company’s services. This is what title companies and title insurance are for, to make sure the property is fine for the new owner to buy and there will be no surprises down the road. Somebody’s got some explaining to do.

Not only that, but this owner has been paying commercial rates on trash, water, and sewer for twenty some years, not to mention three separate meters for electricity, which were installed and approved by the city.

The neighbor’s carport is still there with no signs of change. She got an attorney, and this is what a friend has told me about code enforcement:

“They don’t check on permits or plans before issuing edicts. They’re idiots.”

Like the scam call I got yesterday from the “IRS” telling me that law enforcement would be around shortly to arrest me, it’s scare tactics. They have the power of the city behind them, and if a homeowner hops to, so much the better for code enforcement. What IRS office calls from a 717 area code, anyway? Did they think I was born yesterday?

There’s a thing called ‘estoppel’. There are several different categories for it, but for our purposes, this is what my attorney friend told me:

“You don’t sue someone for estoppel. It is a principal that bars a litigant from asserting a claim for which they initially ignored. For example, if a city once said it is ok to build a 10 foot wall, they can’t come back later and say the wall can only be 4 feet. They are estopped from that claim. You use Estoppel as an absolute defense to the claim.”

 “One can also sue for a Declaratory Judgment. If the city says you have to tear down your 10 foot wall (which they previously approved), you can sue, asking the Court to declare your 10 foot wall is allowed because of the city’s previous action.”
I think these structures should be grandfathered in and permitted. Gird your loins, homeowners. Don’t let the bastards push you around.
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6 Comments

  1. Wolf Man

    Tis true my Love and as you know we will overcome this little problem as we have all the others.
    Faith , determination and Love will overcome anything. :>}

  2. Nelson Mary

    Oh code people all go to the same school. One of my neighbors has a “mother in law “ apartment, since 1910. House has changed hands several times, as two units. And there has been remodeling in each unit, inspected by the city. And, just like you, the city just decided the second apartment is illegal.
    In this case, the homeowner is a lawyer. And he just handed the city a lovely stack of papers. As he said, they basically say “go climb up a rope “.
    I think cities want more money, and decided code enforcement isn’t making enough for the city.
    We shall see how all this goes.
    Good luck with your fun!

    • Excellent! I shall pass on this tidbit to Don. We shall delay any other edicts for many moons! I just don’t want to be raided by the sheriff’s department. Thank you, Mary!

  3. Cathy B

    Wow! Total Crazy-ness! The privileges of home ownership?

    • Ugh. They make me sick. Going after responsible, tax paying citizens, just to drum up money for the city. This property has been just as it is now for forty years. Don bought it this way, counting on the income from three units. The city has approved electrical meters, etc and never said a word about it. So, we’re lawyering up! Someone’s gonna pay. I hope it’s the title company, but who knows. They might be able to weasel out of it.

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