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Received a code violation on remodel home completed by previous owner.

I purchased a 1950s remodeled home last yr. This yr I received a code violation on the remodel completed by the previous owner. When purchasing the home the previous owner, his nor my realtor nor my banks inspector advised me of any code violations. To repair the violation is around $80k. Is there any action I can take against any of the parties involved in the purchase and how strong is my case? Do I need to pay to repair the violation? 
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August 14 2013 - Antioch
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Unfortunately, when you buy a property you have the option to list contingencies, including a contingency that you will check out the place beforehand.  Unless you got it in the purchase contract that there is some kind of guarantee or warranty involved, it seems like the house is yours and the violations are on the house.  
On the other hand you may be able to at the very least let the city know your situation and you won't have to get it done/pay any fine unless it may become a health hazard.
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August 14 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Considering the dollar amount, I'd run this by an attorney.

I agree with the other poster.  When buying, due diligence on the part of the buyer for checking permits of remodeling/construction is absolutely essential.  But, that time is passed.   

Ask the city the consequences of ignoring a code violation.   In some cases they will condemn the property. 
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August 14 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
In my area, when a property changes ownership, the city building department does an inspection for issuing a new "certificate of occupancy".  If they find anything at that time, they won't issue the certificate of occupancy until corrected.  Sometimes this is just removing un-permitted work.  Other times, it is providing plans for the work, and getting the permit, and getting the work inspected.  Other times, when getting the permit, corrections need to be made to conform with code.

One of the reasons to get the permit at the time of construction is the codes change. and if no permit is on file for the work, when the permit is pulled, it needs to be to present code, not the code at the time it was constructed.

Normally most home inspectors document most of these types of issues in their report.  But even discrepancies between what one sees and what is in the public records is a red-flag that there may be a problem.

Once escrow closes, any problems become the problem of the new owner.

In my area, garage conversions are one of the biggest problems.  Also additional auxiliary structures with insufficient setbacks or more than allowed area, or more than allowed lot coverage.  It is one of the reasons buying at foreclosure auctions could be problematic for those with little experience.

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August 14 2013
Definitely check with an attorney, Here in Rhode Island the seller has to fill out sales disclosures which asks if permits were pulled for all work completed while seller has owned the property.. not sure how that works where you live, but if the previous seller lied on the disclosures maybe you have a case? definitely speak with an attorney
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August 15 2013
Uh oh! You have hit one of my "pet peeves". I really dislike un permitted work for precisely this reason. Building code violations are not something your Realtor would have known about,unless it was disclosed by the previous owner.
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August 17 2013
 
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Received a code violation on remodel home completed by previous owner.
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