What To Do If You Buying A Home And Find Out You Can't Legally Occupy It?

Law Blog

If you are buying a home and you have been given a notice by a regulatory agency that it hasn't been cleared for occupancy because all the necessary inspections (including framing, insulation, wiring, or plumbing) haven't been completed, this could be scary and frustrating. You might be worried that it would cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to rectify the situation. There are some things you can do to get to protect your rights. 

Before the Deal is Final, Do Some Research

If it is an older home, it would be wise to carefully check the home for renovations and repairs before signing the final papers and do research to make sure past and current building permits were obtained for this work and the required inspections were done. If not, you may decide to rescind your offer until these things are taken care of. However, if the deal has been made and you were already living in the home when you found out there is a problem, there are still some steps you will want to take.

Talk to the Construction Code Official

The first thing you will need to do is find out exactly what the issue is by talking in length to the construction code official and find out exactly what steps that it would take to satisfy the requirements. Then you need to get estimates of what it would cost to do these things. If you have already moved in, you may be allowed to continue living in the home for a period of time while the matter is being straightened out.

If the issue is about a renovation, you may relieved to know that in many jurisdictions, it is not the entire home that will need to be brought up to code, but just the renovated part.

Contact the Seller, Realtor, and Contractor

You will need contact the seller, and the realtor, and the contractor(s) involved as soon as possible to let them know you are aware of the discrepancy and ask them how they plan to rectify this situation.

It could help to tell them that you are prepared to contact the state or local licensing boards for the realtor and the contractor that are involved, and be prepared to do so if they do not act on this issue quickly. It's important to note that when a contractor fails to obtain the proper permits or to have the required inspections done while constructing a new house or renovating an older home, and this is brought to the attention of regulatory body, they could lose their license.

Consult an Attorney

If a reasonable amount of time goes by and the seller/realtor and contractor have done nothing about this situation, you should contact a real estate lawyer, like the ones at Ward & Ketchersid PA, to see what your options are. It may be possible to take legal action against the responsible parties so that you can get compensated for any repairs, inspections, fines or other related expenses that you had to pay for to enjoy your new home legally.


18 January 2016

Business Law Basics: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

When I started my first small business, I had no idea how much I really didn’t know. I was fully prepared to deal with customers, sell product and even handle complaints and returns. What I wasn’t aware of was that there is so much more to it. I was lacking the legal expertise to protect the company and myself. I wanted others to benefit from my experience, mistakes and lessons learned, so I started this blog. From employment law to the legal business contracts you’ll have to sign when you form partnerships, business law is complex. I hope that the information here will help you to be better prepared when you start your business so that you’ll know when you need to call an attorney and when you can handle things yourself.