Home Buying in 83333>Question Details

Hailey, Home Buyer in 83333

We bought our house a year and a half ago and just found out the studio addition off of the garage was not built to code. The building inspector who

Asked by Hailey, 83333 Thu May 20, 2010

was at our house approving remodel work we did have done noticed this item and indicated he thought the previous owner built himself without permits. We now have to pay to have the addition up to code. This was not disclosed to us and it was not caught during the house inspection before the purchase. Do we, the buyers, have recourse available?

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You should review the type of Title Insurance Policy that was issued when you purchased the property. If it is an extended policy (I always recommend this type as it covers many items not covered in a normal policy at a minimal expense) you may be covered.

Best of luck!

George Martin, Jr.
Associate Broker, GRI
Windermere Real Estate, Sun Valley - Hailey, Idaho
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 22, 2010
As mentioned below, if your home was listed with an agent, the agent should have followed local ordinace re: CCO's (continued certificate of occupany) and many towns also require CCR's ( code compliance reports) which includes all permits open or closed on a property. Not only is a seller asked on the disclosure forms about additions, most of them all say "with all permits".

We run into problems with getting CCO's now before closing since many towns have revised their ordinances and make inspectors check on the tax card what has been updated, they then set up building inspectors to come out and make sure all the work was done up to code. If not, they will allow the property to close but there is 90 day time period for the work to get done and reinspected.

Your best bet, have the town come in and reinspect, there is a good chance all the work was done properly and they will issue you all the permits you'll need if you go to resell your home. If the property was purchased with a real estate agent, you have proof from the MLS sheet, take that to the building inspector, this shows that you purchased it already done. They may not make you pay for the permits.
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 22, 2010
Our disclosure only covers the seller's requirement to disclose 'pending violations' and that the seller has received written notice of that violation. A first step to catching that is to check the tax records against the features of the home since a difference can clue you in that something was done without a permit.

You can try the route of going against the home inspector but it is likely that the property inspection forms you signed with your inspector addressed the fact that they are not hired to point out or identify code issue - although it's common for inspectors to identify the problem while they are there.

As mentioned before, consult your attorney. Gather your paperwork up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 21, 2010
Thanks Jim! My statement was based on the assumption that a realtor was involved in the sale, but if its a for sale by owner you don't have those extra set of eyes involved for a full disclosure. Realtors are required to get the sellers to do a property disclosure. For sale by owners can save money by avoiding a commission, but it can also leave the buyer, or even the seller, open to future issues that could cost more than that commission would have!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 21, 2010
Kristin is correct in her statements. The property disclosure form is required in Idaho but no one tracks it on for sale by owners. I know of some people that have elected to sell property by owner since they didn't want to disclose mold issues or water damage and the Realtor required it (as they should).

The saying about "Caveat Emptor" (let the buyer beware) should tell you that what the seller may be trying to save is not always just the commission!

Home inspectors are not the same as "Code Inspectors" and most of them have disclosures in their reports that cover that topic. When a Realtor lists a property, there is also a statement signed by the seller that the information is correct to the best of their knowledge and that is what the Realtor goes from.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 21, 2010
In Idaho a property disclosure form is filled out by the seller, which is then provided to the potential buyer to review and sign..which goes into the file. One of the questions that a seller needs to answer is if there have been any additions made without a permit..you should have a copy of this property disclosure, check to see what the seller stated on that question...its on page 3 of this form. You should speak to a real estate attorney, about this..if the seller did not disclose that they did the addition without a permit then it sounds like they would be liable..but I'm not an attorney, they would be the best to answer your questions and help seek recourse.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010
Check your purchase agreement. In some states, there's a requirement that sellers state that all work done on the property was up to code at the time the work was done. If your purchase agreement has such a provision--and if the sellers agreed to it--then you may have recourse against the sellers.

So: Check your purchase agreement. And, as appropriate, consult an attorney.

Also, did you have a home inspection done? That might have also uncovered the non-code work done. Check your home inspection and--depending on what the non-code items are--you might also have recourse against the home inspector.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in real estate and see exactly what options you may have--what did the title show, I wonder.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010
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