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Bill Would Limit Code Enforcement Abuse

March 15, 2017 - 8:48am CDT

If we have neighbors, we generally want their property to look … the way we want it to look. Before the age of bureaucratic government, if a property owner was a real nuisance, a neighbor could bring a private action in a court of law. In recent years, however, cities have woven dense webs of codes. Some of them make sense, they simply turn the old law of nuisance into written rules. Others are questionable—tall hedges might be a hazard, or just an eyesore to busybody neighbors. Some are downright silly, like penalties for cracked paint or parking a few inches off the driveway.

Rep. Kevin Calvey wants to protect property owners from the worst abuses of city code enforcement. His “No Jail for Paint Act,” House Bill 1691, would require cities to enforce their own liens when they impose fines on residents. In its present form, it would also protect homeowners with mortgages from foreclosure based on such a lien. These limitations on city power would make sure cities bear the cost of code enforcement, making abusive enforcement less likely.

Rep. Calvey was a guest on "The Trent England Show" to talk about the bill. It must be passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives by next week in order to move on to the Senate. Listen to the podcast below.