Respond to an Unsafe Structure Violation

Did you receive an unsafe structure violation? The City monitors all building maintenance to ensure the safety of structures.

You likely received a notice from The City posted on your actual structure (residences and/or commercial building) and need to respond within the specified timeline in order to avoid a hearing. You may either appeal the violation if you think it's incorrect, or fix the problems by following the below directions. 

NOTE: If you received a final notice stating that you must attend a hearing, do not proceed below. You must attend the hearing on the given date. 


Determine Why You May Have Received the Violation

A building shall be deemed unsafe or a hazard if:

  1. Vacant, open, and abandoned structure.
  2. There is an accumulation of debris or other material inside or out (trash, hoarding, et. al.) therein representing a hazard of fire.
  3. The building condition creates hazards with respect to means of entrance or exit for fire protection/cave-ins.
  4. It exhibits signs of structural stress such as cracks, unusual sagging, rotting of wood members, termite damage, or if ceilings, walls and roofs are collapsing or caving-in.
  5. Water service is disconnected.
  6. As additionally defined in Chapter 8 of the Miami-Dade County Code.

Respond to Violation

  • Contact the Unsafe Structure department to determine the cause of your violation, if you are unsure (the cause will also be on your notice). You can call us at 305-416-1177 or email
  • If you believe you received this violation in error, you can Appeal an Unsafe Structures Violation
  • You will receive an explanation and/or photos of the issue (which carry a fee). Often, we will require an in-person meeting with owner and/or architect to discuss next steps. 
  • If you are ready to fix the problem, proceed below.  

Secure the Property

Depending on the violation, you must do some or all of the below:

  1. Building shall be boarded to prevent further damage or to impede illegal entry and vandalism.
  2. Windows and doors shall be secured with minimum 1/2" plywood using established and approved securing methods.
  3. Floors and roof openings shall be secured, as well as any existing fences.
  4. The property will be kept clean.
  5. FPL may disconnect the power to prevent accidental electrocutions or electrical fires.

NOTE: Securing the property only initiates the process required in the compliance process. An unsafe structure must still be brought to 'living conditions' or be demolished if it is deemed beyond repair (see below).

Repair Property, if Possible

The City will evaluate the condition of the property and determine if repair is possible. You will be given a timeline for your repairs, permitting, etc.

If you've been instructed to demolish the property, skip to step six below. 

  • If the structure can be repaired (as determined by The City), property owner shall retain the services of a design professional (architect, engineer, etc.)
  • You will need to acquire a permit for your planned repairs, conduct the repairs, and pass inspections in a timely manner. This timeline will be outlined for you by The City.

Guide to Getting a Permit

NOTE: A one-time extension may be granted if request is found to have merit.

Pass Inspections + Pay Fines

  • When all repairs and inspections are completed, a final inspection will be conducted by the Unsafe Structures Section for the pending Compliance Case. 
  • After you've passed inspection, you need to pay for your violation. The lien payoff amount (i.e. total fees) may be obtained by emailing You will receive an invoice with payment instructions within five business days of your request. 
  • When all fees have been paid and collected by the Finance Department, a Certificate of Lien cancellation may then be requested by contacting 305-416-1177 or email  Please be advised that the recording process may take up to one week.
  • You are now ready to apply for your Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Completion

You Must Demolish a Structure, if Deemed Beyond Repair:

  • If you meet with the Unsafe Structures department, and the Building Official determines the structure is over 50% damaged/beyond repair, the structure shall be demolished, and you must proceed as below.
  • If you do not comply with this determination, your case will be sent to The Unsafe Structures panel hearing, and an order will be rendered.  

How to Demolish

  • If demolition is deemed necessary, a total demolition permit shall be obtained before you can demolish.
  • Complete your demolition and inspections. 
  • Full payment of Lien charges (see above) must be paid prior to Unsafe Structure case being closed.