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Occupancy permit

Isn't it assumed that when you purchase property that all of the paperwork would be closed off.

I recently applied to the City to put a back deck on my two-year-old home.

The municipality indicated to me that the builder had not obtained a final inspection for the property and there was a minor change that they noted on their file that needed to be addressed.

I thought when I bought the property that all of this type of paperwork would be closed off.

I have gone back to my lawyer and she said that it is unusual for there to be an outstanding permit, but it is probably only some red tape.

Regardless, I assumed when I bought the house that everything was complete. What would you suggest I do now?

The answer to your question is not so straightforward.

Generally, when a builder transfers a property to one of its customers, the permits are closed off and the house is ready for occupancy.

Quite a number of municipalities no longer actually issue occupancy permits.

Regardless, the builder guaranteed that the house was ready for occupancy.

Your first line of engagement should be with the builder (if the company still exists).

Your lawyer relied on this implicit guarantee.

In the not-so-recent past, your lawyer would have done a building permit search and would have uncovered the fact that there was an outstanding permit.

This system of due diligence has been replaced by the purchase of title insurance policies that cover off deficiencies.

If the problem is something that is not minor in nature, you may have to apply for assistance from title insurance.

However, your lawyer should be involved in this process.

You may also question if this is an issue for Tarion which is the government sponsored warranty program.

On first glance, I think you should find out what the outstanding issue is so you can best approach it with the appropriate resources at hand.

Jeffrey Cowan is the principal of Cowan Law and can be reached at jeff@cowanlaw.ca.

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