Charlotte, NC asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York

Q: Sold house in 2011. A cert of occ was never issued for an added structure prior to sale. is the sale valid?

Added 1st floor sun room to single family house (with permit) in 1983. Unknown to original owner, inspection for remodel was never recorded by bldg dept. Sold house in 2011. An agrmnt with buyer and lender was made for buyer to procure inspection to receive the required CO. Agrmt obligation assigned over to seller at sale. Buyer made further modifications to house prior to inspection and has refused inspector full access to procure CO. Notice sent to buyer 2012 and now 2019 (legal firm claiming back log of cases) documenting non compliance with agreement. Buyer denies claim of illegal structures and has refused to allow bldg dept inspector access to house since 2011. Violations issued by city. Buyer legal wants seller to sign letter for buyer funds held in escrow at time of sale to procure CO ($20k). Buyer legal wants funds released to buyer without getting a CO. Is sale valid? Is seller liable for illegal activity,code and zoning violations in house? What can be done?

1 Lawyer Answer
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Sales are generally "as is" unless there is an agreement to the contrary. You referenced some escrow agreement. The sale will be governed by that document. No one should close without a valid certificate of occupancy. Whatever the buyer did (I am unsure if you are buyer or seller) was a mistake.

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