Poughkeepsie, NY asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for New York

Q: I am looking for case law on disputes between homeowners and building departments in NY

My attic has sheet rock but is unheated. my town building department is calling it a "violation" because it has no "egress window" we are at the zero hour of closing the sale of the house and are being held up by this violation. I have been told unheated space cannot be called living space. Also, I asked for a report on anything outstanding on my property in JUNE so we would avoid this situation. also the attic was in its current condition before I bought the house. Now my sale is in jeapordy and I'm not selling because I want to - I really have to sell my house to survive financially. I want to know if I have a case to argue and resolve this so I can close this sale. I hope you can help!

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

A: Unheated space cannot be living space. The issue is the fault of your lawyer when you bought the house, your broker who listed it now as a "living space", and your lawyer who allowed this issue to fester until closing. While it is sometimes reasonable to overlook these issues at a closing knowingly, if you bought it thinking it was a legal space, you were misadvised. There are only two resolutions. Tell the buyer to take "as is" or no deal, or hire an architect to bring heat up to the space and legalize it. The cost of bringing heat to the attic will depend on your system, but is likely not that expensive. The issue is your Certificate of Occupancy varies from your listing. This one is on you, not the buyer.

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