Asked and AnsweredWe are buying an apartment that has been extensively renovated. Among other things, the size of the master bath was significantly increased. Can we rely on a representation in the contract that all required approvals were obtained from both the Cooperative Corporation and from the New York City Department of Buildings?
No. Even if the seller represents that all work was done in accordance with all applicable building codes and all appropriate approvals were obtained, the buyer would be well advised to dig a little deeper to make sure that the seller’s representations are accurate. When a substantial apartment renovation is undertaken, the seller’s contractor (or architect, as the case may be) is required to file an alteration application with New York City for permission to move forward with the renovations. Sometimes the application is properly filed, but never completed. When that happens, an unsuspecting buyer can be obligated to obtain the “sign offs” for the work that was unfinished by the seller’s contractor. When uncompleted work is discovered, it can be quite costly to obtain completion of the building department filing, as the original contractor is long gone. When you are aware that your seller has undertaken a major renovation, the seller should be required to provide the certificate of completion that was obtained at the end of the job to insure that the alteration applicaton was closed. Contractors always seem to lose interest as a job progresses. Getting those sign offs somehow just slips their minds. When your seller is touting an extensive renovation, make sure the seller produces the documentation that shows the work was commenced properly and completed in all respects.