HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Hollywood Commissioner Patty Asseff isn't comfortable with city code enforcement officers posing as home buyers in order to gain access to houses and find violations.
Asseff, who works as a real estate agent, said she didn't know the practice was happening until Local 10 News reported the story last week.
Commissioner Dick Blattner also was unaware. He said he would have liked to have been told how code officers in his city have been getting access to private homes without showing any identification.
Blattner believes the city should discuss the issue and plans to bring it up at an upcoming meeting.
"As a matter of fact, I have talked to the assistant city manager," Blattner said.
Local 10 News reported last week that code compliance officers and look for unpermitted work once inside a house. This included redone kitchens, bathrooms, electrical work, plumping and pool decks.
Homeowner Lionel Mignot said he talked to a code enforcement employee for more than 30 minutes during a showing.
"We did a walk through," he said.
Asseff said that there should be "some kind of disclosure when you walk in the door" during an open house.
Mark Sadek, chairman of the Miami Realtor Association, said the practice of the Hollywood code enforcement officers is "totally unacceptable."
Sadek represents 43,000 Relators in his position.
"We feel that it is definitely not being done legally," he said.
Sadek claims the deception is a violation of rights.
"The Fourth Amendment right of homeownership, of not disclosing why they're coming there," he said.
Hollywood's city attorney doesn't agree.
In a phone interview, he told Local 10 News that when someone lists a home for sale they are inviting strangers inside.
The head of Hollywood code compliance said it's a matter of public safety since unpermitted work can be substandard, dangerous and in some cases be done by investors buying and flipping a home.
However, some who have been cited feel it's deception.
"They took advantage of me," Mildred Leon said. "They tricked me into letting someone in that pretended to be someone else."
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