Boston luxury condominiums can be a great place to live, but one of the downsides is that it can be difficult to renovate a condo. Since alterations can end up affecting the rest of the building, most condos have a rigorous permit system in place. However, if you don’t know this when you buy a downtown Boston high rise condo for sale, you could end up selecting a property with several unpermitted renovations. If you suspect any work performed on your condo was not permitted, you should take the following steps to resolve the situation.
Research Permit Regulations
Condo owners often have far stricter permits than other homes. Brush up on the local laws for municipal permits and the requirements laid out in your condo association agreement. Carefully consider all this information to find out which parts of your condo may not be permitted.
Speak to an Attorney
It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer who can help you sort out confusing legal language. The lawyer can also let you know if you can sue the previous homeowner for the cost of dealing with the unpermitted work. If the issue was not disclosed to you before the sale, the owner may be liable.
Get an Inspection from the City
If a renovation requiring city permits was performed by someone else without the proper bureaucracy, you are not going to be held liable for not getting a permit. Talk to the local permit office or building department. In most cases, they will be more than happy to help you get an investigator to check your condo and tell you if you need to bring things up to code. If the work is up to code, you might not be on the hook for more than the cost of the inspection.
Talk to the Condo Association
Every condo association is different, and the agreements you signed when closing on the property can make a big difference. In almost all cases, you will not be fined for unpermitted work. However, you may be responsible for ensuring everything within your condo meets the regulations laid out in your agreement. It’s best to address the problem as soon as possible by speaking to the condo association.
Avoid Renting or Selling the Property
In most cases, unpermitted work is not a huge inconvenience. You normally just need to fix up anything that is a danger to others in your condo building. However, keep in mind you cannot rent or sell the property without disclosing the issue to the buyer. If something goes wrong and the buyers can prove you knew about the problem and did not warn them, you could end up paying a hefty compensation. It’s not uncommon for unpermitted work to be performed on downtown Boston real estate. It’s up to you to decide if you want to move forward with the purchase or not.