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Old 12-10-2007, 11:42 AM
 
68 posts, read 156,133 times
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Default Certificate of Occupancy question

I have a friend who has a house in Westchester County that turned a garage into a couple of finished rooms. They never told the town about it so no permit/CO's done. They are now looking to sell the house. I know that for a buyer to get financing the bank will want to see the CO for these rooms. Is there a different process for trying to get the CO retroactively? How difficult might it be to get? Do you have to pay back taxes since the rooms were finished some years ago? Thanks any info appreciated.
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:23 PM
 
Location: New York, Westchester
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Default It all depends on exactly

what was done....is the garage attached or detached is it heated is their electric, plumbing, plus every town deals with these matter's differently etc. etc..I sent you a private message...so check your PM
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Westchester and Putnam County NY
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Depends on a lot of things, does the home have sewer or septic? are the rooms heated, are there windows, closets, etc etc. There is a process and yeah it pretty much needs to get done, their will be some fees but nothing crazy and yes the taxes will go up.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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Yes rooms are heated and have windows and closets. The home has septic and town water, the garage is attatched to the house.
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Westchester and Putnam County NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baby1nov View Post
Yes rooms are heated and have windows and closets. The home has septic and town water, the garage is attatched to the house.
Oh boy, if the septic is only approved for a certain amount of bedrooms and 1 or more of these rooms are considered a bedroom you will have a problem. If the septic tank is say approved for 3 bedrooms and you have these 2 other rooms that we all know at least 1 is being used as a bedroom then their will be an issue. I had a client who turned his garage into a kitchen and the other garage into a bedroom, he had to take out both and turn them back. Maybe someone else will have more info for you but because the house has septic more issues will arise. Now you are dealing with the bedroom approval the septic has as well as the board of health. Again maybe some one can offer more info here but in the few cases I saw 1st hand, they had issues.
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:39 PM
 
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Yes, there is a retroactive process...It called the filing of 'as built' plans. you will more than likely need to get these "as builts" done by a pro... to do this hire an architect to draft 'as built' plans. thats the easiest way as they can/will deal with the town in the proper way. If there is plumbing and elect. work done they will more than likely want to see safe code practices. this means that parts of the sheet rock (or sometimes structure) may need to be ripped out for visual inspection... and they will make you do it over if there is a safety issue. They will also check for proper insulation, electrical connections, size and type of wiring used, size and type of lumber used in construction, connections made to the structure, proper beam sizing, proper sealed connections of all plumbing, proper ventilation of sewer gases that may enter the home, check if the HVAC units can still handle the heating or cooling needs of the home with the additional spaces, and also check water proofing and so much more. some towns will actually fine you (although they don't call it that). they call it a fee. in way of filing fee ect. and sometimes they do call it building violation. like others have said it depends highly on what was done and what town you live in. No one will be able to tell you better than an architect or the towns inspector. Inspectors have the power to enforce NY state codes and sometimes you may get a gun-ho inspector that will start checking other parts of the home for violations. I also know that some towns will recoup taxes as this newly finished space is livable square foot area which is taxable. I know someone who did something similar to what you described about two years before selling. He lived in the home 19 yrs in total. well, since the town could not know when he did the alterations they assumed it was done when he first moved in. So, he was charged for taxes on the mod. for the 19 years. I also know that insurance companies (home insurance) will look for any loophole to get out of paying you if something should happen. in this sense, if your home burns down and the fire was due to electric work was done without a C/O or approval by the town as "a safe" and code approved space, meaning no inspections were done... they WILL take that opportunity to reject paying you insurance proceeds.

Basically its not worth doing it behind the towns back, do get a building permit. as a home owner YOU are responsible in calling your planning board to find out if one is needed for your prject. do use licensed contractors and be sure the have proper workmns comp insurance. In the long run its more trouble and money than its worth trying to avoid a permit in the first place. It may not be exactly what you wanted to hear but its a more complete answer to your question.

Hope that helps...

Last edited by brittlestar08; 12-10-2007 at 10:17 PM..
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:55 PM
 
31 posts, read 3,757 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNY View Post
Oh boy, if the septic is only approved for a certain amount of bedrooms and 1 or more of these rooms are considered a bedroom you will have a problem. If the septic tank is say approved for 3 bedrooms and you have these 2 other rooms that we all know at least 1 is being used as a bedroom then their will be an issue. I had a client who turned his garage into a kitchen and the other garage into a bedroom, he had to take out both and turn them back. Maybe someone else will have more info for you but because the house has septic more issues will arise. Now you are dealing with the bedroom approval the septic has as well as the board of health. Again maybe some one can offer more info here but in the few cases I saw 1st hand, they had issues.

this is correct... septics are ALWAYS approved fo a sertain number of bathrooms or better thought as water load or water usage) you will have a problem wih this. they will want to dig the fields and do testing on the distribution tank. If it was installed improperly in the first place (although your addition did not remnovate the septic) they will want you to do it all over to current code (which could be very expnsive) as it does tie into the new addition as stated above. and again mike is correct if testing is performed it will be through the board of health and they are a tough department to deal with. Especially if you have the older cesspool... do you know for sure you have a septic tank and fields? or do you have a cesspool. those are illegal but are grandfathered in. unless of course you do an addition/renovation than every affected component of thebuilding (in this case the septic) will be subject to upgrade to current building practices and codes. They will want to do a test called a perculation test and even a full environmental assesment. If thats the case your in for a long haul and $$$. this is why mikes friend had to build it back the way it was. It was not worth the head ache.

hope that helps.

Last edited by brittlestar08; 12-10-2007 at 10:06 PM..
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:00 PM
 
31 posts, read 3,757 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baby1nov View Post
Yes rooms are heated and have windows and closets. The home has septic and town water, the garage is attatched to the house.
some towns consider a bedroom to be a room with a closet but thats not all. bedrooms must meed a specific minimum size and hight as well as have specific minimum sized windows.

Egress is also a big issue when you finish a basement... you must have two means of egress (two ways to get out in case of fire). in this sence a window of a minimum size will qualify as a second means of egress. again a professional would be able to check on this for you. you said there was a garage but you closed it so in essence you closed in one of your escape egress ways. the first is always the stairs that gets you down.

Hope that helped.

Last edited by brittlestar08; 12-10-2007 at 10:11 PM..
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:42 PM
 
68 posts, read 156,133 times
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Interesting. Sounds like its just easier to convert it back.
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baby1nov View Post
Interesting. Sounds like its just easier to convert it back.
well, yah... but that is if no one reports you when you try to convert it back. like a nosey neighbor . The town officials drive around (sure you've seen those white cars with westchester.gov on the door?) and check these things. The garbage people and local dump can/do report const. debree. So be careful as converting back is just as riskey. Just get 'as builts' done at this point. depending on what was done (as others suggested) will depend on what you will need to do now and you can sell it with the added sq.ft of the home. You could hire a pro to do a short feisability study to determine which way would be less expensive (prob a couple hundred $$). selling with the added value of additional space but cost to get 'as builts' vs. cost to re-do back to original. I suppose you could park a big truck in front of the garage to re-do a new door like the old and throw out a little bit of garbage at a time .

Hope that helps.

Last edited by brittlestar08; 12-11-2007 at 07:52 AM..
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