by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.
Question: We purchased an old ” fixer upper” in Glendale. In the process of doing work on the home, we learned that the seller did not have permits from the City of Glendale to enclose the garage and add on the fourth bedroom. The inspector for the City of Glendale has said that we may have to do some extensive modifications to the garage and the fourth bedroom in order to get approval from the City of Glendale. If we have to make these extensive modifications, is the seller required to reimburse us for the costs?
Answer: In general, a seller is required to disclose any adverse material fact relating to the property, such as lack of permits. In addition, the seller in the standard Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement is required to disclose any repairs or remodeling to the home, and if there were permits from the applicable governmental agency for such repairs and remodeling. Therefore, if the City of Glendale requires extensive modifications, you should be able to seek reimbursement from the seller. Under the standard contract, you can go to small claims court if this cost is less than $2,500.00; if more than $2,500.00, you are required to mediate with the seller before taking any legal action.