Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Can You Be Held Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Homeowner

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Florida

    I want to purchase a unit for investment purposes close to where I presently live.

    I'm concerned about permits done for previous work. What happens if it is discovered that some of the work was done without a permit? Am I liable even when they happened during the previous owner's ownership?

    The reason I ask is because a friend lives in the complex and when I asked her about the permit cost when she redid her kitchen a few years ago, she said that a permit wasn't needed to just replace kitchen cabinets.

    So I called the City's Code Compliance Department and was told that a permit is needed even if all I want to do is replace kitchen cabinets without any changes to plumbing/electrical.

    I know that the bathroom to the unit was renovated, and also the hole where a wall air conditioner used to be in the Master bedroom was closed. For some reason, they kept the A/C in the living room even after they installed the Central HVAC, and I would certainly want to remove it. Code Compliance said that any opening to an outdoor wall is considered a "window" and I would need a permit to close it.

    So is there a statue of limitation for permit work? Would I be liable?

    The City's Code Compliance Department has an online searchable database for permits and it looks like only 4 have been issued since 2012 in this ENTIRE building, so I don't want to open a can of worms by asking specific questions about this building at the Code Compliance office.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,054

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    There's no statute of limitations on code violations. The city can make you get permits and inspections for old work any time you want to do new work. My friend had that happen at his house.

    Worse, when you go to sell, the buyer's mortgage company will have a thorough code inspection and you will have to correct the issues or find another buyer that doesn't need a mortgage.

    If you are getting the unit cheap enough, are willing to sell it (eventually) cheap enough, and aren't concerned about the niceties of permits when you want to do your own remodeling, then it shouldn't be an issue.

    If you are not willing to go that route, are in escrow, and within the inspection period, call the city code department, have the unit inspected and she will have to comply in order to complete the sale. If she doesn't, your option is to cancel the purchase.

    If you aren't in contract yet, you can walk away if you aren't satisfied about the past work or the need for permits for future work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    There's no statute of limitations on code violations. The city can make you get permits and inspections for old work any time you want to do new work. My friend had that happen at his house.

    Worse, when you go to sell, the buyer's mortgage company will have a thorough code inspection and you will have to correct the issues or find another buyer that doesn't need a mortgage.
    That's what I was afraid of.

    I guess I'll pass. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,719

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Make sure in the p and s agreement you include a requirement to disclose any prior work and prooof of permits for said work and that seller will remedy all permit issues prior to transfer. This can get very expensive if unpermitted work has been performed by any previous owner. While you often can demand compensation later if such issues are discovered, if the sellers move half way across the country or have no money to pay a judgment, a win becomes quite hollow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,054

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    This can get very expensive if unpermitted work has been performed by any previous owner.
    Yeah, my friend had to tear out his patio floor because of unpermitted work that was don't many years before he bought the house.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,516

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Yeah, my friend had to tear out his patio floor because of unpermitted work that was don't many years before he bought the house.
    That just seems so absurd to me. I believe you entirely, but the logic of it escapes me. Plumbing, wiring or anything that represents a safety issue makes sense to me, but ripping out a patio floor just seems absurd.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,719

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Quote Quoting llworking
    View Post
    That just seems so absurd to me. I believe you entirely, but the logic of it escapes me. Plumbing, wiring or anything that represents a safety issue makes sense to me, but ripping out a patio floor just seems absurd.
    In my area the building inspector has the option to demand owner apply for retroactive permit and allow inspection all the way up to demanding the contuct be razed. Even if the construct is allowed to stay, it can be required to be dismantled to any extent the inspector requires to be able to perform required inspections.

    Maybe jack’s construct simply didn’t meet code for some reason. In my area with a concrete patio there are pre-pour inspections. There is also the requirement to submit design drawings showing any included reinforcement (rebar, mesh, whatever). There is often a reauirement for a vapor barrier under the slab. There are requirements for the strength and slump of the concrete. Often times the inspector demands to be made aware of the pour date so he can check to ensure the proper reinforcement is used. Pouring a slab of concrete entails much more than calling up your local wet mix delivery guys and having them dump a few yards on the ground.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,336

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    The fact is that a state's statutes say what the law is but it is the states administrative code that sets down the procedures, remedies, and enforcement.

    We do not live in a police state yet. The building department cannot demand that something be done that is not related directly to public safety, public welfare, or public health. That means that if someone builds without a permit, there has to be a balance between the government's interest in public safety, welfare, and health to the equity of the resolution and what it costs the homeowner.

    If someone renovates a bathroom without permits, what is the government's interest in requiring the bathroom to be ripped out because no permit was issued? There is none. They may require the administrative fix of applying for permits and paying the fees. But removing the improvement when in fact it may have been done according to building codes, I have not found one instance in any state where that has happened. Perhaps you could find one and post it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,719

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    The fact is that a state's statutes say what the law is but it is the states administrative code that sets down the procedures, remedies, and enforcement.

    We do not live in a police state yet. The building department cannot demand that something be done that is not related directly to public safety, public welfare, or public health. That means that if someone builds without a permit, there has to be a balance between the government's interest in public safety, welfare, and health to the equity of the resolution and what it costs the homeowner.

    If someone renovates a bathroom without permits, what is the government's interest in requiring the bathroom to be ripped out because no permit was issued? There is none. They may require the administrative fix of applying for permits and paying the fees. But removing the improvement when in fact it may have been done according to building codes, I have not found one instance in any state where that has happened. Perhaps you could find one and post it.
    The construct may not be allowed legally is one reason it could be ordered to be razed.
    An example would be something like;

    in my area one can build an accessory building if there is no residence (in a residential zone and setting) but it is authorized for only two years. The purpose is to alllow storage for building equipment and materials on site while a residence is being built. In such a situation I can see the order to raze the building if the residence is not built


    Another would be if the construct violated setback requirments.

    Internally it becomes less likely it would be ordered removed entirely but I can imagine a few cases where it may be possible.

    Beyond that, the construct can be ordered to be demo’d an amount adequate to allow required inspections. If an inspector wants to be a real PITA, every wire the entire length of it is subject to inspection. An inspector could demand all wiring be exposed and made available for inspection. By the time an inspector got done with required access some constructs may as well have been removed.


    As to providing some situstion where any parrticular event happens: nothing I could provide documents but I have personally seen inspector require Sheetrock removed from entire rooms to allow for in wall inspections.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Can I Be Responisble for Unpermited Work by Previous Owner

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    The fact is that a state's statutes say what the law is but it is the states administrative code that sets down the procedures, remedies, and enforcement.

    We do not live in a police state yet. The building department cannot demand that something be done that is not related directly to public safety, public welfare, or public health. That means that if someone builds without a permit, there has to be a balance between the government's interest in public safety, welfare, and health to the equity of the resolution and what it costs the homeowner.

    If someone renovates a bathroom without permits, what is the government's interest in requiring the bathroom to be ripped out because no permit was issued? There is none. They may require the administrative fix of applying for permits and paying the fees. But removing the improvement when in fact it may have been done according to building codes, I have not found one instance in any state where that has happened. Perhaps you could find one and post it.
    I would imagine, in the case of the patio, that if it was done incorrectly it could do all sorts of harm. If it is pitched incorrectly, you can end up with a lot of water flowing towards the house's foundation. If the site wasn't well prepared, if it is not on a level, well-drained and compacted surface, if you don't apply several inches of gravel to prevent the concrete from shifting and cracking, if it is not reinforced correctly, if the wrong type of concrete is used, or even if you pour it in the wrong weather conditions, then it's going to end up cracking, and that is a safety hazard. Unfortunately, once the patio has been poured and hardened, inspectors have no way of knowing what is beneath.

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post

    If an inspector wants to be a real PITA, every wire the entire length of it is subject to inspection. An inspector could demand all wiring be exposed and made available for inspection. By the time an inspector got done with required access some constructs may as well have been removed.
    Yep. And if you do work without permits, expect them to be on PITA mode. They can be a PITA even when you have permits, imagine when you try to bypass them. It's almost like saying inspectors aren't needed for anything.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Non-Performance and Breach: Contractor Sued by a Homeowner After Ending Work
    By Chad Hopple in forum Construction, Repair and Renovation
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-28-2014, 09:54 PM
  2. Construction Contracts: Homeowner Fired Contractor After Four Days of Work, No Payments Made
    By GBB123 in forum Construction, Repair and Renovation
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-10-2013, 10:58 AM
  3. Denial & Appeals: Denied Previous Benefits for 1 Day Work
    By rayo1975 in forum Employment and Labor
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-09-2013, 11:41 AM
  4. Debt Collectors: Previous Homeowner's Debt
    By beekeeper in forum Debts and Collections
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-15-2010, 11:57 AM
  5. Unemployment Benefits: Previous Part-Time Work
    By MAOne in forum Employment and Labor
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-17-2009, 09:05 AM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources