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Seller/seller's contractor did not deliver the repairs per the regulations

The furnace in the house had to be replaced because it had a recall on it for safety issues. The seller agreed to get it replaced. Now we find out that a permit needs to be pulled for the furnace replacement (the permit basically entitles an inspector to inspect and verify if the job has been done satisfactorily) and the seller's contractor never did that. From what I have found out, its mandatory to pull the permit when a furnace is being replaced. 

Now, the seller/seller's agent want us (buyer) to file an application for pulling the permit citing that the contractor who did the job is "distancing himself". That looks to be complete BS to me. Even if it is true, I am sure they have ways to contact him through his license number. 

Our worry is that let's say we file an application for pulling the permit and the inspector points out that the job has not been done satisfactorily, then what next ? Who gets the repairs done now ? This should all have been done by the seller in the first place. 

What options do we have here ? Can we sue/file a complaint against the seller/his contractor ? Our contract clearly mentions that the furnace replacement was agreed upon and now after we have moved in, we find out that the permit was never pulled after replacing the furnace.
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September 30 2013 - San Diego
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Unfortunatly the Purchase Agreement does not have a clause that guarantees any work done by the Seller.

If you signed off on the contingencies (one of which I assume was the furnace).  Then the Sellers obligation is complete.

This issue is now between you and the contractor.  Your agent may have/should have made sure that the seller supplied you with any receipts for repairs.  I would start with the contractors receipt.  Then give him hell.  Anyway you can until its done correctly.
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September 30 2013
Profile picture for nstw
Thank you for your response.

We do have the receipts but nothing for the permit. Our agent was not aware that a permit needs to be pulled for replacing the furnace. Neither did the seller/his agent know this. They claim that the contractor never made the seller aware of any such thing and is now unreachable. 

Can we not file a complaint against the seller's contractor/seller ? Its mandatory to pull the permit when replacing the furnace.
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September 30 2013
The receipt will hopefully say something about, "My work is guaranteed".   Best case there would be a line item mentioning permits.  Maybe not on the receipt, maybe the seller got a price quote and its on there.

Maybe the contractor has a boss or works for a bigger company than himself?

Do some research and find out all the places where you can report shady contractors. Call him first and nicely tell him that you will report him to the .....State.  Angie's List.  Yelp.  BBB.  Contractors have an association? etc. etc.

Small claims court?  Sounds like an easy win for you.

You can of course bring suit to the seller and/or contractor, and pay a lawyer through the nose!

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September 30 2013
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Thanks Mike for your help.
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September 30 2013
hahaha, No worries man.  Sorry to hear about that.

Basically, the receipt is yours now.  If you bought a big screen TV and it didn't work.  You would return it.

Same concept, tell the contractor you are not happy with the repairs (they are illegal) and you want a refund or fix it.
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September 30 2013
Maybe consult an attorney on this. I believe if the contractor has a state contractor's license, he has responsibilities he must meet regarding permits. Contact the state licensing board, maybe you can put some pressure on the contractor if his license can be in jeopardy over this. The contractor is the one who normally pulls the permit, unless he's not licensed.  Homeowner's do to, but contractors do this every day. 

Read paragraph 15 in the C.A.R. Residential Purchase Agreement, if you used it. It says "provided that the work complies with applicable Law, including governmental permit, inspection and approval requirements." I'm not sure what you can do now, but it's worth  knowing.

In escrow is where both agents should have stepped in. We're paid to guide and advise. The seller's agent should have pointed this out to their sellers when they had the conversation about repairs, or at least read the paragraph if they weren't sure. Your agent should have pointed it out to you as well, and before you removed your contingency, after you both  saw the receipts/paperwork. And, you as the buyer, should have done your due diligence as well before signing off.  And, in this case, due diligence would have started with reading paragraph 15, and everyone would have know what the next step would have been - the permit office. It may not help now, but it may help others with their transactions.

You could try putting a little legal pressure on the contractor, especially if he's licensed. 

Good Luck!

Warm Regards,

Cory La Scala, REALTOR
Independence Realty
Lic # 01443391
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September 30 2013
Assuming you had an inspection resolution disclosure, I would contact your agent!
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October 02 2013
You do have a right to expect a permitted/legal installed furnace. I would personally contact the contractor if you haven't done so. He should warranty his work for at least one year. The receipts should have his contact information and his license number. If he is non-responsive, sending him a letter warning him that you will be contacting the contractor's license board (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/) should get him to be more responsive. 

If he does not have a license, you can still report him with the CSLB, since it is illegal for anyone not licensed in CA to contract for more than $500. 

With that said, I know it is a common practice to not get a permit for a furnace install, I do mechanical design and if every contractor got a permit for a furnace install, all us engineers will increase our profits by 100 times. As a strictly personal opinion, not my professional one... if the contractor is a licensed mechanical contractor, then the furnace manufacturer is likely to extend the same warranty, and as long as you are getting the correct heating, I wouldn't be too worried. A furnace change out is usually just the contractor attaching everything existing to the new furnace, "plug and play" so to speak. Maybe call another HVAC guy out, pay them for the service call, and just make sure they connected the gas line, exhaust flue, and electricity to code if you are really concerned. 

Seeking an attorney is always recommended, but sometimes costs are prohibitive... and the furnace installation is likely a small claims case at the most. 

FYI: Building code changed as of January 2014 and the energy codes will be more stricter in July... 
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January 09
 
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