open building permits

As discussed in a previous blog post (Obtaining A Municipal Records Search), many purchasers of residential real estate are now reviewing the town records concerning the building permits on the subject property.  Unfortunately, sometimes the records show an “open” permit, meaning a homeowner pulled a permit for repairs or improvements, but there is no record of a final inspection or certificate of occupancy which would “close” the permit.  This often results in a seller being required to close the permit by having the municipality perform an inspection on work that has long been completed, sometimes even dating back to a prior owner.

The issue of old open permits has been addressed by new legislation, effective October 1, 2017. Public Act 17-176 amends Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 29-265, by adding a nine year limit to the effect of an open permit for one or two family dwellings and associated structures.  Structure is defined in the legislation as having the same meaning as in the zoning regulations for the applicable municipality, or if not defined in such regulations, is defined for the purposes of the nine year limit as including but not limited to a shed, garage, sign, fence, wall, pool, patio, tennis court or deck.  The new legislation will effectively close any permit that has been open for nine years.  The legislation prohibits a municipality from commencing an enforcement action regarding a permit which has not been closed or for which a certificate of occupancy has not been issued after nine years from the date of issuance.

The new legislation should help alleviate concerns relating to open permits over nine years old. However, it is still advisable for home buyers to consider Obtaining A Municipal Records Search as discussed in the previous blog post.

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