Inspecting Multi Dwellings- 2011
Many times we inspect Multi unit dwellings. An interesting point was bought to my attention from a professional colleague who had a strange experience with a 2 family dwelling very recently. He inspected a 2 family residential home up North Jersey. The inspection was very typical and he did a great job for the client and they purchased the property. The two family home had separated utilities (gas and electric), 2 hot water heaters, 2 heating systems and 2 separate entrances. It looked like a duck, walked like a duck and so it was a duck ... right? Hmmm... it was listed and sold as a 2 family home but after the buyer purchased the home, a law suit letter was sent to the home inspector, both lawyers and realtors involved. Why?
The formal complaint on the docket stated that the home was not a "Legal" 2 family home on records with the township or municipality and everyone should have known that! This was only discovered after the purchase and the new owners ran into problems with the Township when renting out the units. The Township said they had no record of the home as being a "Legal" two family. Legal code, regulations and ordinances are beyond the scope of a home inspector. So please do the client a good service and make sure the Township is informed in advance when the home is listed and let the Township officially determine if a home has legal multi dwelling status before closing to protect everyone.