Recently, Compliance Connections was proud to serve as a co-sponsor along with Safeguard Properties and the American Association of Code Enforcement (AACE) for an exclusive scholarship opportunity open to active code enforcement professionals to attend this year’s upcoming National Property Preservation Conference (NPPC).
Since beginning in 2004, the NPPC has served as a premier platform for leaders, servicers and investors from across the mortgage industry gather to discuss current topics and develop solutions for the future. Through communication and teamwork, the event works to build consensus and establish standards for policies and services. Now in its 15th year, the conference will be taking place November 3-5 in Washington, D.C.
As one of our 2019 scholarship recipients, Sarasota County, Fla., CCEO and Utility Code Enforcement & Connection Intake Unit Supervisor Paula Parsons Grubb has 12 years of code enforcement experience with Sarasota County Utilities and 30 years of investigatory experience gained through positions with the states of Alaska and Florida (including as a Florida Guardian ad Litem for the 12th Judicial District since 2006).
In addition to currently working in the field of code enforcement, Paula (along with all other participants) was required to submit answers to three essay questions to be considered for five available packages. Her insightful answers have been provided below.
How did the housing crisis in 2008 change the role of a code enforcement officer?
The foreclosure process hindered the officers’ ability to legally file and record enforcement liens against properties in foreclosure status (a lien cannot be filed and recorded against properties more than 30 days after the filing of a notice of Lis Pendens). Therefore, officers had to be more “creative” in pursuing code compliance. Mandatory and courtesy code enforcement notices could still be filed and recorded against properties. Additionally, officer’s roles morphed into a conduit for “connecting the dots” and proactively communicating outstanding code enforcement violations to stakeholders in the foreclosure process.
As an example, Sarasota County Utilities sent courtesy notices regarding outstanding code violations to the plaintiffs (i.e., banks, mortgage companies) and their attorneys in foreclosure suits so there would be no “surprises” in the event the plaintiffs purchased the properties at auctions. These advance courtesy notifications also would afford the plaintiffs time to plan and prepare to get the properties into compliance with local codes and have a “clean” title to subsequently sell properties after purchasing at auctions.
Ten years since the housing crisis, the economy is improving, and mortgage default rates are declining. Have you noticed an improvement in your community? Be specific.
Compliance rates have significantly improved. Also, property owners are no longer in “survival mode” while facing foreclosure, which has freed up financial resources to prevent blight of their properties and maintain/increase value by reinvesting into improvements.
What is your biggest frustration when attempting to enforce code on residential properties?
The lack of program resources to refer property owners in the higher-lower income/property valuation bracket for assistance to remedy property code violations. There are programs available for housing rehab assistance for owners in the lower income/property valuation bracket; there’s a “gap” for assistance programs for owners slightly below middle income but above the poverty level.
Aside from building an impressive career, Paula is a proud mother to a wonderful son (and her “furry dog children”) and wife of a fun, fabulous sailor. She enjoys a number of hobbies, including music, traveling, sailing and genealogy research.
Congratulations, Paula! We appreciate everything that you do to serve your community.