Hollywood halts covert home inspections — for now

City code officers posed as potential home buyers to find remodeling work without permits

TRD MIAMI /
Aug.August 27, 2016 09:50 AM

Code officers in the city of Hollywood have stopped posing as potential buyers of homes to uncover building-code violations. But the city may revive the controversial tactic.

City spokeswoman Raelin Storey told the Sun-Sentinel, “We’re not using this technique at this time, but that’s not to say we’ll never use it again.”

Real estate agents criticized the undercover effort to enforce Hollywood’s building code.

Howard Elfman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, told the Sun-Sentinel the practice is dishonest.

“If the inspector is coming in, represent yourself as an inspector,” Elfman told the Sun-Sentinel. “Don’t do these covert operations where you’re pretending to be a buyer just to get information.”

City code officers posed as people shopping for homes to inspect them for evidence of remodeling work done without city permits. After launching their undercover crackdown, city code officers rapidly found five homes with code violations. The violators got 60 days to become compliant or pay fines as high as $500 a day.

Hollywood resident Oren Hilel is one of the home owners whom the city charged with making  property upgrades without required permits.

Hilel told the Sun-Sentinel that a man claiming to be an affluent currency trader told him he was interested in buying an Emerald Hills townhome that Hilel renovated. The man was actually a Hollywood code officer.

“He told me he was a cash buyer,” Hilel said. One week later, the city cited Hilel for failing to pull permits for rewiring and remodeling work at the townhome. [Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Jeffrey Soffer and the Diplomat Beach Resort (Credit: Getty Images)

Jeffrey Soffer in talks to buy 1,000-room Diplomat Beach Resort for under $1B: report

Left to right: Debbie Orshefsky, Seth Bour, Vivian Dimond, Peter Flint, Tim Wheat and Chip Abele

Hollywood attracts developers but lacks new office space: panel

Moses Bensusan and Costa Hollywood Resort (Credit: Wikipedia)

Embattled Costa Hollywood Resort files for bankruptcy

Daily Digest Miami

Landmark bank in downtown Hollywood could be torn down for rentals, Miami-Dade approves $300M cruise terminal: Daily digest

Diplomat Beach Resort at at 3555 South Ocean Drive

Brookfield’s Hollywood Diplomat scores $168M refi

Publix plans to build and open a grocery store in Hollywood (Credit: Getty Images, Pixabay)

Boaters, rejoice: Waterfront Publix with boat access moves forward

Construction of downtown Hollywood high-rise may start soon

Virgin Trains may announce 3 new train station sites in South Florida by year-end

arrow_forward_ios