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Old 04-25-2012, 07:52 PM
22 posts, read 146,075 times
Reputation: 21


We are trying to buy a house with illegal decks. The seller bought it in 2007, and did not realize the decks are illegal (no C.O.), now he hires an architect to legalize it. I think it might need a varience, or they need to cut back some decks to make it smaller. I am wondering how long this process can take, is 3 months enough? And the seller has relocated to other state, only architect here does C. O. application. We need to sign a contract soon, before they finally obtain C.O. for the decks. The contract will be contigent on obtaining all valid C.O. before closing. Our loan application needs to be delayed as well. Is it a big risk to sign the contract? Thank you for any information.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:58 AM
Location: Pleasantville, NY
114 posts, read 571,531 times
Reputation: 51
I have a similar issue. I have a balcony and a deck, and the deck is on the original application for the CO (in 1979), but the balcony isn't. It's obvious that the balcony and deck were constructed at the same time, but when I bought my house, the bank's attorney raised an objection to the balcony and deck not being on the CO (it wasn't required at the time).

Since the deck was on the original application, the bank's attny allowed it, but not the balcony. It needs to get a CO.

We had two options, let the sellers handle it or we do it and money is set aside in escrow. We bought the house, moved in, and the sellers said that they would handle it.

That was two years ago. It was a divorcing couple; one-half moved and the other half isn't responding to inquiries.

The banks attorney later told us that we should have waited to let the sellers deal with it. We didn't have a choice because we had already sold our apartment and had to be out by a certain date, so we didn't have the luxury of time.

Two years later, we still don't have a CO for the balcony. It's a mess to get that money out of escrow to handle the architect/engineer, permits, etc,. Lesson learned. So now it's up to us to handle it but again, we need to locate the original sellers to get them to sign off on the paperwork, turn over the money in escrow, etc. A mess!

We spent almost two months in negotiations about that blasted balcony. I was tired of dealing with it and just wanted to close. In hindsight, I should have waited longer. They're losing money on not resolving the issue because they're still paying a mortgage and taxes on the house until they can sell it.

A buddy of mine bought a house in Queens a few years ago. One of the reasons he bought it was because of the large open deck in the back. Turns out, it's illegal, but he, and the original owner, were paying taxes on it! He sued and it went through legal for a couple of years. He eventually had to get it 'modified' to bring it to code, all at his expense.

My advice... if you can wait, I would suggest that you let the seller deal with it. If they have to open the can of worms to get it resolved, it's a headache best saved for the seller and not you.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:56 AM
22 posts, read 146,075 times
Reputation: 21
Thank you for sharing the experience. We requested the seller to obtain all valid C. O. before the closing, as our loan agent and attoney warned us the diffculty of closing due to unresovled C. O . issues, banks are much stricter these days than 2007. The seller underestands he must resovle this, so the transaction can go through. He has hired an architect to handle this. I want to wait till they get C.O. and then close the house. I am just wondering if 3 months is enough for application in Greenburgh. Thanks.
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