Home Buying in Hoboken>Question Details

Gman, Home Buyer in Hoboken, NJ

What happens if the seller is unable to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.?

Asked by Gman, Hoboken, NJ Thu Sep 27, 2012

The contract closing date was to be "on or about" 8/15/2012. Today is 9/28. The seller, however, is still pursuing a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and Home Warranty. The only clause in the Contract regarding a timeline states: "Seller shall promptly deliver to Buyers a true and correct copy of the CO covering the Unit, if required by the municipality of Hoboken, NJ."

I know I can get out of the contract due to the Seller unable to get the CO to this point but do I have any other legal recourse to either have them pay for my unexpected housing situation or at least light a fire with them? Can they for another month or 2 or 3 claim they are still unable to obtain a CO?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi there, we use attorneys in my part of NJ and I can't imagine engaging in a transaction without one. A good real estate attorney can guide you on this question. If a valid CO is required to close, then keep this on the seller side of the equation for sure even if it inconveniences you if you want to stay in the deal.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2012
Found the anwer on-line. It's called the 'time is of the essence" clause.
Flag Fri Sep 28, 2012
Good evening Gman,

I've been "flamed" a few times here on Trulia.com for suggesting that EVERYONE buying a home engage the services of an Attorney. The reason I've been slammed was because it seems only here in New York do we use Attorneys. Because your situation is clearly a legal one you need to consult with your Attorney.

If you don't have one, get a recommendation to a good local real estate Attorney.

IMHO the Seller should be held accountable for the delay in closing; they clearly didn't have all their "ducks in a row" when they decided to sell this property and this is now inconveniencing you.

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
You are exactly right. Trevor. I actually have an attorney but not all attorney's are equal. Some are on top of it and others are not. Typically, a real estate closing is at the bottom of their piles so a normal Q&A session turns into a few weeks of calling and begging for their time. I posted on here b/c I thought attorneys or just other people inhabit this site but this is not true.
Flag Thu Sep 27, 2012
Well the buyer can't buy until they have the CO.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
Karina is right on target here. What is the address of your property? This answer, in itself, can answer a lot of your questions as most agents in Hoboken know the market and know what is out there for sale as far as new construction. If you could provide enough detail, we could answer you question more specifically. Karina is right in saying to contact your attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
The address is 129 Harrison. It is new construction thus the CO necessity . My question is for an attorney, you are all correct on this point.
Flag Thu Sep 27, 2012
The only properties that need CO's are new construction or rehabs/conversions that have to go through inspections with the city.
Builder contracts usually have a window of up to six months to deliver units completed. Some, depending on size of building, obtain temporary CO's and can close a floor at a time.
You should check with your attorney to get an update and new timeline of what still has to be done. It may not be just a CO, there may be items outstanding.
Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
If this is a resale of a property a C of O is not necessary in Hoboken. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
Thank you. This is new construction.
Flag Thu Sep 27, 2012
I'm wondering what the delay is in obtaining the CO? Is it scheduling? The town inspector? Unresolved issues? It shouldn't take over a month but if there are issues needing to be addressed, your attorney should be obtaining that information and keeping you up to date. I'd suggest you start there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
The delay is the sellers incompetence greatly exacerbated by a sellers market.
Apparently something in the building needs to be fixed before a CO is
issued but the Sellers have chosen not to tell my attorney what the precise issues are. My issue is with me paying housing costs while the sellers address their issues. My issue is understanding what leverage I have to force the seller to do the right thing. Without leverage a seller can just sit on everything while I get screwed.
Flag Thu Sep 27, 2012
On or about 8/15 means they and you have till 9/15 to close, so you do not have any unexpected housing costs until now. Since you are not paying for a mortgage, homeowner's insurance or real estate tax what will be your unexpected housing expense? Do you know if they can ever get a CO? What does your attorney say?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
So on or about equates to a month you are saying. Ok, this is helpful information if true. What I mean by unexpected housing expenses is my house sold and I had to move out to a hotel while waiting for the Hoboken property to close. So every day in a hotel costs me over $100. I was expecting to close on the Hoboken property on the agreed to closing date, beyond this date "unexpected housing expenses" start to come in. They are not forthcoming about exactly what needs to be fixed (or at least not yet) so I don't know when they can get a CO. This is really a question for the lawyer, you are right but my lawyer isn't the sharpest so I was hoping for an attorney answer on this forum or a broker who has gone through a similar situation.
Flag Thu Sep 27, 2012
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