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Certificate of Occupancy obstacles

Discussion in 'Buying & Selling a Home or Residence' started by davefromnj, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. davefromnj

    davefromnj Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    New Jersey
    I own a home that currently has a few major defects as follows:
    1) Trex Fence (each eight ft section weighs 500 pounds each) is leaning at a 10 degree angle.
    2) Trex Deck - support posts are cracked and there is a noticeable two inch gap in deck support beams due to settling from the damaged posts.

    Would either of these issues be considered a serious enough safety hazard as to prevent me from getting a certificate of occupancy?

    Thank you for any advice you may lend.
     
  2. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    When you apply for C of O you get an inspection from the building inspector to see that not only any work done was permitted and received a final inspection but also that everything is up to code and in reasonably good repair. The leaning fence and the deck are two items that are controlled by the building code. So they may prevent you from getting the C of O until fixed.

    The simple answer would be to apply for the C of O and see what the inspector says. If you have to fix them, you do.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Why would you need a CO if you already own the home?
     
  4. davefromnj

    davefromnj Law Topic Starter New Member

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    In NJ if a home seller does not have a CO, the home must be sold "as is", which would yield a much lower sales price.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Oh, OK.

    In that case, I suggest getting an estimate for the repairs then compare the cost with any potential reduction in price.
     
    davefromnj likes this.
  6. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    That is not exactly true unless you have done permitted work (or should have obtained permits) on your home since you purchased it. You bought the home with a C of O or you would not have been able to occupy it.

    What makes you think there is no C of O for your home?
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The State of New Jersey requires that before a closing on NEW construction can, the builder/seller must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the municipality wherein the property is located.

    NJ clerks suggest that prior to submitting your application the seller comes to the Building Department to confirm that all prior permits issued have been closed out. After confirmation of finalized permits, an application may be submitted along with a fee of $95 for the sale of a home, or $25 for rental applications.

    Monroe Township C of O checklist:

    https://monroetownshipnj.org/construction-office-forms/COCecklist.pdf

    Middletown Township says:

    Certificate of Occupancy | Middletown, NJ

    I suggest you speak to the township, municipal, or county authorities where your home sits and find out what you need specifically.

    You can likely find EVERYTHING you need with a quick internet search.

    In fact, this MIGHT be what you need to know:

    Town of Westfield, NJ: Certificate of Occupancy
     
  8. davefromnj

    davefromnj Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I purchased it "as is".
     
  9. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    Have you gone to the building department and asked if there is a C of O in the file from before you purchased it?

    There is no statute that says you must have a C/O to sell property in NJ or it must be sold as is. These requirements are municipal ordinances. And what they say is only that you must have a C/O. And each time you get a permit to do work and obtain a final approval on that work, the C/O is updated.
     
  10. davefromnj

    davefromnj Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks all, apologies as I have a lot to learn. A few years ago I was looking to a purchase a townhome but multiple code violations were found upon inspection and the inspector told me I would not be able to get a CO until the violations were remedied (I ended up backing out as the seller refused to remedy them), However I guess the scenario is different from an attached home compared to a stand alone single family.
     
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, CO means something different in NJ. Not only is such inspection required on sale, but also periodically on rentals.
     

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