Can someone legally and formally complain about what I have on my own property if what I have is not harming my neighbors in any way whatsoever?

I received a complaint via an officer about a trailer full of trash that I was
planning on moving to the dump anyways and was told that if I didn’t move it
immediately that I would be fined. I was also told by the officer that if I
didn’t move the three sheds that we have off the property that me and my family
OWN that we would also be fined a fee for that continiously until it has been
done. This is all going down in Chipley, FL. I am stuck and confused as to how
people complaining about things on MY OWN property leads to forcing me to comply
to what they want or be fined by the city via an officer.

Asked on January 10, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Anyone may complain about anything. However, the com[laint will only have legal effect IF the complaint points out a violation of a local or municipal ordinance, such as one relating to building (e.g. how many structures, of what type, where, you may have) or health/sanitaton (removal of trash). If you are violating an ordinance--i.e., violating the law--you can be fined for the violation. The fact that someone else is complaining about what is on your property does not make the complaint invalid, any more than it is invalid for someone to report to the police that they observed you selling drugs on your property: the key issue is not who made the complaint, but rather did it point out an actual violation of the law (including local ordinances).
The first step in seeing if you must respond and how is to contact the officer(s) who spoke to you and ask what law(s) you are allegedly violating--if you're not violating an actual ordinance or law, you don't need to do anything. If you are supposedly violating a law, get a copy of the ordinance--you should be able to look it up online or get a copy from the town/city clerk. Review that law you are supposedly violating to see what it requires; whatever it does say, you will have to comply with.

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