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Question DetailsAsked on 12/7/2015

Found out after purchase, the loft storage was built without a permit from the city. How do we rectify this?

We bought a condo with 2 built-in lofts in mid 2015 - advertised as "THERE ARE TWO LOFTS, APPROXIMATELY 277 SQUARE FT. OF EXTRA ROOM, WHICH CAN BE USED AS STORAGE OR SLEEPING AREAS, YOUR CHOICE."
We were going to extend one of them and applied for a permit and it turned out the city didn't have a record of 1 of the lofts and we are now being told to:"submit all necessary information to either legalize this loft in accordance with all applicable codes or remove it." At time of purchase, we were never told it was built without a permit - we don't want to remove the lofts - but if it doesn't meet the codes then it will need to be rebuilt or removed. This is a lot of cost to us - which we feel is owed to us by the original owner. What are our options?

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1 Answer


Obviously, remove the loft to the extent needed to make it be considered no longer a "loft", upgrade to meet code (which may or may not require a lot of work or cost), or sue.

Trying to sue the seller, especially if a residential as opposed to commercial sale, would be a hard sell - that is what inspection periods are for, to find out things like this - plus legal costs would probably exceed the cost to make it conform, assuming bedroom only.

I suppose you could claim false advertising, but that is a far stretch too, in my opinion.

I would talk to an architect (and have him/her do an inspection) and see just what would be needed to make it legal, and what it would take to make it just a storage space. Might just be a matter of making sure it has legal egress and has minimal lighting and HVAC - course, if built with a bathroom or kitchen or such a LOT more trouble maybe. I would guess probably about $500 to get a ballpark estimate of conformance or revert to storage space scope and rough construction cost - a lot of which (especially if reverting to attic) you could probably do yourself.

IF your Realtor when you bought it was NOT on both sides of th deal (listing and buyers agent both), talk to him/her about their thoughts on how deceptive this listing was and what your chances of recourse are.

Other thought - if you really intend to extend one loft, just make it (if you have a choice) the one that is non-conforming, and make it conforming in the process. As long as you have a building permit to extend it AND bring the existing part up to code I suspect they will be happy to suspend the order to legalize it to the end of the current construction - that seems like the easy solution to me.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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