Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland

Q: Unpermitted work

Hi. I am a buyer and under a contract to buy home in Montgomery County, MD. Our closing is end of August. I just learnt that the home has unpermitted work. Seller built a bathroom in the basement. Seller signed the Maryland Residential Property Disclaimer Statement. My agent is agreeing but suggesting that it's not a big deal and as seller signed that disclaimer form, he is not obligated to get a permit. Seller purchased a home in 2004 and built the additional bathroom after purchase. Can this lack of disclosure of unpermitted work considered a latent defect and is the seller obligated to get the permit even if he signed the disclaimer form? Thanks!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You can't get a full and complete answer on this free platform because any lawyer will have to review the documents. I assume you are referring to the standard MAR and perhaps GCAAR forms. In our litigation practice, I have considered the failure to disclose unpermitted work to be both a violation of one or more main clauses, as well as a latency that should be disclosed. Some argue that the presence of a County permitting file means it is not a latency-- you or your agent could have pulled the permit file during the inspection period.

The real question is whether you are still within an inspection period, where you might ask for price adjustment to reflect possible remedial work to obtain a permit.

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