United States: Cleaning Up After The Storms

Building and Development Permits

While Florida was bracing for the impact of Hurricane Irma, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order No. 17-235, declaring a state of emergency for all 67 of Florida's counties. Due to the potential for impact on building development, all declarations of a state of emergency have the effect of, among other things, extending the expiration dates of many types of building and development permits issued from state and local jurisdictions.

Section 252.363, Florida Statutes provides, in part, that permits and other authorizations are extended for the length of the state of emergency and for an additional six months thereafter. The extension applies to the expiration date of a development order, building permits, permits issued by the FDEP or the Water Management District, and the buildout date of a development of regional impact (DRI), including any extension of a buildout date that was previously granted.

Extensions of permits are not automatic. If you choose to exercise your right to extend your permit's expiration date, you must properly notify the relevant permitting authority of your intent to exercise the extension within 90 days of the termination of the emergency declaration. 

The state of emergency declaration issued for Hurricane Irma, unless extended, is set to expire on November 3, 2017.

Who Is Liable For Clean-Up?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, home and business owners throughout the state are wondering about who is responsible for payment for the repairs and the cleanup when a tree falls on a neighbor's property. In short, the answer depends on whether the owner knew or should have known that the tree was in a poor condition before it fell. If a tree is diseased, rotten, dead, or otherwise poses an obvious hazard to surrounding neighbors, the tree's owner is liable for any damages, repairs, and cleanup resulting from the fallen tree. If the owner had no reason to believe that the tree was likely to fall, however, the repair costs fall to the neighbor who suffered the damages. Indeed, the tree's owner is only liable if he or she created the condition that caused the tree to fall on the neighbor's property by failing to properly trim or remove a diseased or threatening tree that posed an obvious danger.

Force Majeure Clauses

As business gets back to normal following Hurricane Irma, business owners should keep in mind that contractual obligations (to be performed by them, as well as owed to them by others) could be modified by "force majeure" clauses in their contracts. A force majeure clause (French for "superior force") is a contractual provision that relieves parties from performing their obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance impossible, commercially impracticable, illegal or inadvisable. The wording of such clauses varies, but generally speaking they provide for delays in performance on account of Acts of God, natural disasters, strikes, labor and material shortages, war, acts of terrorism and other major unanticipated events.

If, because of the hurricane, you are struggling to perform a contractual obligation in a timely manner, or if a party to one of your contracts is having a similar issue, review the force majeure clause of the applicable contract to determine what it covers. How does it impact the deadlines that the parties have established to perform their obligations? Consider issues presented by closure of businesses (not just yours, but also others that you rely on) during and following the hurricane, as well as loss of utilities, recovery/rebuilding activities, and shortages of laborers and materials. If applicable, a force majeure clause should be invoked by written notice meeting the requirements of the contract. For more info, click here.

Tax Relief Notices

If there is severe damage to your home or business, it will also be important to pay attention to your property assessment for 2018 (the storm does not impact your 2017 taxes). This valuation is determined as of January 1, 2018, and should take into account any lasting impact from the storm. These assessments will not be known until August 2018, however, so document the damage, including photographs, as of January 1st.

HOA Debris Removal

Cities and counties in Central Florida, with assistance from FEMA, are currently handling debris removal from Hurricane Irma that could take weeks (if not months) to conclude. Contracts are being entered into with haulers for pickup of large debris (tree trunks, root balls, big branches, etc.) that cannot be accommodated by the usual weekly yard waste service that all local governments offer. FEMA typically requires local governments to obtain written agreements governing pickup of debris in gated communities having private streets before their haulers will enter the community. These agreements contain various covenants and indemnities by the property owners' association that owns the streets, and should be carefully scrutinized before being signed. Some provisions may be capable of negotiation.

The reaction of most owners (as well as their tree cutting contractors) has been to deposit large debris along the street; however, this debris will typically be picked up using "claw" trucks that can cause damage to improvements under debris piles.  As such, local governments have requirements for the placement of large debris for pickup. You should check with your applicable governing jurisdiction, but you will probably find that debris may not be picked up if it is piled on streets or sidewalks, or next to utility poles, fire hydrants, storm drains or mailboxes. Most governments require that debris be placed on the grass inside the edge of the curb of the street, between the curb and any adjoining sidewalk.

If debris is not picked up due to incorrect placement, the hauler may leave it behind and move on to the next community. If that happens, there is no way of knowing how long it will take for them to return (if at all) to pick up debris that gets moved for later pickup. It is therefore important for owners, developers and property owners' associations to know where debris must be placed for pickup before haulers enter a community. This may require some owners to move their debris piles to permitted locations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions