If there is a problem with zoning does a realtor have to disclose that information?

Asked by halocwgirl, Boston, MA Mon Jun 24, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Greer Swiston’s answer
Greer Swiston, Agent, Newton, MA
Tue Jul 2, 2013
The realtor must disclose what information he/she knows. However, if s/he doesn't know, there is nothing to disclose. Zoning differs from town to town and from time to time. It is always best to look into the situation yourself.

As a buyer, you would be wise to go to the City Hall and review all the permits and information on the property. If you have a specific zoning question, it would not hurt to put a call into the inspectional services of the City or Town or look it up in the City/Town ordinances.

Good questions to ask are:
1) Is the neighborhood under any Historical restrictions?
2) Is the property under any special permit restrictions?
3) Is the property currently a conforming property under all current zoning rules?

If the answer to that question is not known for the specific property (i.e. no one has tried to do anything there in a long time, so no one really knows) then ask general questions to see if the property would trigger any conditions.
0 votes
John J. Dean…, Agent, Boston, MA
Sat Nov 2, 2013

What type of problem ? Our jobs are Realtors states we must disclose all that we know about a property. If there is a question the city building department or an attorney may be the best resource to help you with this question.
0 votes
Mario Pavli, Agent, Boston, MA
Tue Jun 25, 2013
If the agent is aware than yes but it depends how familiar the agent is with the area.
0 votes
Rafael Herna…, Agent, Roslindale, MA
Tue Jun 25, 2013
If the broker knows then they have to say it but if not then they don't. You should check with the local municipalities. Also you can make offer contingent on doing zoning investigation.
0 votes
Laura Feghali, Agent, Stamford, CT
Tue Jun 25, 2013
Hello halocwgirl,
Zoning maps and their criteria are a matter of public record. An agent should know what zone a property lies in and should suggest that a buyer visit or contact the Building and Zoning Department at the government building or City Hall where that office is located. That way the buyer hears first hand what he can or cannot do with the property.

Hope this is helpful.

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
0 votes
Jonathan Mor…, , Boston, MA
Tue Jun 25, 2013
Buyer beware! If your transaction is a cash purchase then you may not discover any issues. However, if there is a conventional loan in place, your surveyor or appraiser may discover some problems. It's not difficult to research these issues on your own.

The City of Boston is very helpful. There are some great links to maps and regulations at http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/zoning/zoning.asp

You can search for permits, applications for permits and even decisions which date back a considerable period of time at http://www.cityofboston.gov/isd/building/process.asp

Finding the problem isn't that difficult...it's fixing it that typically presents the major obstacle. Once you know the problem and consider the possible remedies, you may have a decent talking point in your negotiations.
0 votes
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Tue Jun 25, 2013
unfortunately most realtors are not up to speed with zoning and building issues. a buyers agent should check with or recommend that you check with the building dept to see what the history is of the property and if you have made it clear to your agent your specific needs regarding zoning that may effect your purchase. . That said your attorney should also be protecting your interest.

What is the zoning issue that is in question??
0 votes
Richard Shap…, , Framingham, MA
Tue Jun 25, 2013
If its known it should be but you should seek advice from an attorney.
0 votes
CH Naamad, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Jun 24, 2013
Please consult an attorney for your issue. Your broker may or may not be aware of the zoning restrictions you are referring to.
Please consult an attorney for a clear response.
Best regards,
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more