I had a recent home inspection done on a house I want to buy. The inspector found two housing code violations. I confirmed this with boro inspector.

Asked by Robin, Chalfont, PA Mon May 10, 2010

We asked the sellers to have the two violations which were not very expensive fixed by professionas. Sellers agent has been very adversarial throughout negotiations has her sellers convinced that these are not code violations & that I, my agent, & inspectors are being ridiculous. Seller's agent even mocking my home inspector and the boro inspector saying they don't know what they are doing and they are unwilling to have a professional fix the code violations & are even refusing to let my home inspector back into the home to follow up that the code violations have been properly fixed. At all points the sellers agent appears to be sabatoging the deal. This is my first home & while I am extremely pleased with my agent, but I am concerned that the sellers agent and perhaps the sellers might be scheisters and up to no good--why else would they refuse to let my inspector back in the home to be sure the code violations are fixed properly? Should I walk?

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Olamas, , Miami, FL
Sun Dec 9, 2012
In our experience when the home owner has this kind of attitude it usually means hat those few code violations are just the tip of the iceberg. We have also had bitter sellers that immediately call the building department to report code violations on properties as soon as they sell them. Run!!!!
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Brian Luce, Agent, New Hope, PA
Thu Sep 15, 2011
Hi Robin,

Others have given you some great advice so I won't duplicate that. After reading your response to Kent, I'm FLOORED that the other agent would even suggest putting a nylon sock over the end of the dryer hose (IN THE ATTIC no less !) to collect lint.

(Not that you would, but...) please do not even consider that Dangerous, Crazy , and 100% INCORRECT advice.

Some sellers don't understand how they really can "put off" a buyer with certain decisions that they make (or don't make). It's quite normal to think that they may be "pulling something funny" when many times they really are not. Sometimes they are being advised incorrectly and sometimes the decision is solely their own. (It's also hard for other agents to comment since we don't have every single detail of what's going on).

Some owners may feel: "It's been fine since we've been here" or... "It wasn't code when the house was built" and they simply won't make any changes. (Loosing the deal and a qualified buyer over a relatively inexpensive repair or repairs - Especially in this market - is not exactly rational)....

It sounds like your agent is on the ball so, you should be in good hands. (and please post back what the resolution was because quite a few buyers will be going through the same thing and also thinking the same things that you are. (maybe not with a dryer vent specifically, but your situation is similar to many others).

One suggestion is to also find out if the dryer has been moved from another location (where a proper venting system may be currently installed). You may be able to re-locate the dryer when you move in. Depending on the age of the home, it is pretty common to see both Dryer Vents and Bathroom Exhaust fans routed directly into the attic. It was not spelled out / against code when older homes were built - it's just the way some builders "did it" back then. As accidents happen, codes are updated and change.

In addition to Chalfont's code, exhausting a dryer vent into an attic space most likely appears in the ICC- IBC (International Building Code), along with other codes like BOCA which are adopted throughout most of the U.S. (Chalfont Boro follows the IBC 2006 code and IRC codes for residential construction. New Britain Township follows the IRC code. (Not all townships follow the same codes).

My own preference is NOT to vent a dryer where the upright portion of the hose (or hard line) is higher the a few feet above the outlet on the dryer. It can be done - this is just my personal preference (my father is a builder - retired). Sending lint "up and around multiple bends" to vent increases the spots where it can be trapped and cause a fire.

You should also never use "soft" dryer line for an application that runs a long distance - (in fact, that "old flex plastic stuff" is no longer available and has now been replaced with a flexible foil type.

(Plastic dryer line is.... - surprise.... - against most recent codes - although that won't matter, it seems, to your "homeowner"). Running long runs should be done with the rigid , smooth aluminum sections and rigid elbows - especially if you are going "vertical" and through and attic etc.

If the home is what you want, I'd say, don't loose sleep at night. Move in, be happy, re-locate the dryer line (and exhaust fans if they are incorrect as they put a TON of moisture in the attic causing roof problems) and then you will feel safe that it's done correctly. (My thoughts: If you have a seller "like this" and he does agree / finally give in and do the repair, it may be done by the cheapest standards possible and you may wind up re-doing it when you move in anyway.

Good luck with the sale and many happy memories in your home.

Brian Luce ABR, SRS,
Director of Sales
Weidel Realtors - Doylestown
0 votes
Joe Sheehan, Agent, Exton, PA
Tue May 11, 2010
Whatever you decide to do, keep a close eye on the dates. If you don't have a resolution by the time the dates for replying to inspections expires, you may end up accepting the property without the repairs by default. Be careful!

If you can't resolve this issue with the seller in time, and the seller won't agree in writing to extend the dates, terminate the agreement before time expires. If you're still interested, you can always start all over again.

Joe Sheehan
RE/Max Professional Realty Inc.
Exton, PA 19341
Office: (610) 363-8444
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue May 11, 2010
Armed with documentation from your inspection and boro code enforcer a visit with your attorney may be in order.......often a well crafted letter, outlining possible legal action can cause less cooperative individuals to "see the light of day."

Good luck

0 votes
Robin, Home Buyer, Chalfont, PA
Mon May 10, 2010
Thank you, Kent. The code violations are that the sellers have their second floor dryer being vented to the attic floor with no cover and the lint and moisture are spuing out all over the attic floor. Also, a drop down attic door was installed and when it was done, they cut through a main joist/tress(?) and did not double reinforce it. I checked with the boro inspector and he confirms to both my agent and I (even provide us with the violations code numbers), as well as our professional home inspector that these are code violations. The listing agent keeps insists they are not violations and mocks the professional inspectors. Nonetheless, the seller says they will "fix" the joist issue but refuses to let our inspector back into their home to make sure it was done properly before closing. They are refusing to properly vent the dryer hose to the outside. The listing agent told my agent to just put a nylon stocking over the end of the hose on the dryer floor and go up in the attic and clean it twice a month. I trust my agent, it's the listing agent and her bad, unprofessional advice and unwillingness to let my inspector or the boro inspector double check. I'm planning on going FHA and do not know if the their inspector or the appraisal inspector will site these code violations. My agent has been working really hard to help this deal go through, but the selling agent is sabatoging the deal and I'm not sure why--doesn't seem very professional or ethical the way she is dealing with us. Especially denying the codes and mocking the inspector's, esp. when she does not have the credentials. Just wondering if anyone has any advice on whether it is best to walk, even though I like the house. I was the only buyer to make an offer on this house and it sat for several months already.
0 votes
Kent Gagon, Agent, Chandler, AZ
Mon May 10, 2010
If the potential code violations are a major concern for you then you may consider walking from the deal. Your best source for information is your realtor if you trust his/her judgement and it sounds like you do. The sellers have an obligation to let you into the house to do inspections according the the contract. Have you checked with the city code department? What are the code violations? So many unanswered questions you really need to consult with your agent and if that does not work get the broker involved. Too many unknowns for a forum like this to give you good advice. Your agent is your representative and should be looking out for your best interest. With that said should you decide to continue with the purchase, keep in mind the "code violations may come up again when you go to sell the house unless you fix them on your own. City planning and zoning may be able to help but again too little information is in your question for anyone other than your agent to provide reliable advice.
I hope everything works out for you and that you ge the home of your dreams. :)
Best regards
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