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Seller listed property as duplex. Turns out it was illegal.

Discussion in 'Buying & Selling a Home or Residence' started by jeepgoon, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. jeepgoon

    jeepgoon Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My wife an I purchased a home about 3 weeks ago. It was listed as a duplex and had tenants in it at the time it was listed. By the time we had closed on the property the tenants had moved out. The seller had been paying the electric for the tenants. We payed to have a duel electric meter installed on the property so we would not have too. When the city came by for the inspection they informed us that the property was an illegal duplex and was too small to have the zoning change. Do we have any recourse against the seller for the false listing or there broker or even ours for not catching it? Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You can consult with a local attorney. However, seller likely listed the property as a duplex because that's how he/she was using the property. Do you have any evidence that the seller knew it was illegal to use the property as a duplex? Also, the legality or illegality of using the property/structure as a duplex was something that could and probably should have been discovered by whatever inspections took place (or should have taken place) prior to the purchase. If appropriate inspections were done, and the illegality was not discovered, you might have a claim against whomever conducted the inspections.
     
    Michael Wechsler and justblue like this.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    What if there is? As a practically matter it would cost you tens of thousands to litigate.

    Did you buy an owner's title insurance policy? If yes, I suggest you file a claim with the title company and see how that goes.

    If that doesn't work, look on the bright side. With a few modifications you have a bigger house for yourself and you'll avoid having tenants living right beside you where they can be the world's biggest nuisance.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  4. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    I would go to the local jurisdiction's building department and pull the file on the property to find out when the home was built and if it was built as a duplex or was it altered into a duplex at some later date. And if it was converted, were the proper permits obtained and if the proper approvals from the town were granted. And then what was the zoning at the time of the conversion.


    I will assume that what you mean is that your lot size is non-conforming in dimension to current regulations for a duplex.

    Depending on what you find out from some due diligence, you may be able to apply for a variance.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Just occurred to me to ask.

    Is this a side by side duplex or a two story dwelling with upstairs and downstairs apartments or a one story dwelling with an apartment in the basement?
     

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