This is a very long story but I am going to try to make it short and sweet if that is even possible. My partner and I purchased our first fix and flip in Tamarac Florida in April of this year. The realtor that we used is a long time friend who is also an investor and has been in real estate for over 20 years. He agreed to work with us and basically show us the ropes, for half the profit of course. So we agreed to take him on as a partner. He had all of the contractors in place and we didn't need to worry about finding anyone to do the work. His best friend is a general contractor and he had him do the roof work that needed to be done. Little did we know that he was proceeding without getting a permit to do the work. One of the neighbors called the city to report us and now we have a few violations and two of them are not valid. The inspector stated that the overhang in the front was put there by us and the kitchen has work done without a permit. None of this is true. The overhang was there already, the roofers just fixed some spots that needed fixing and there was a hole in the roof that needed to be fixed. As far as the kitchen is concerned, we have done absolutely nothing in the kitchen to this day. We received the violation in June and was told that we had 30 days to fix the problem or we had a court date on Oct. 6th. The realtor told us don't worry, I know someone in the permit department who is a manager and I am going to take care of this. Well for 4 months now he keeps telling us that he is going to take care of it and nothing is done yet. He told us that he went down to the office to speak with the manager on two occasions, one which he happened to not be there and the other, the manager was on vacation. My partner and I have been more than patient at this point and are really starting to get worried that the realtor is not going to fix the problem in time. I started calling some Licensed General Contractors in the area to get some information on how we should proceed so I have more knowledge and not just rely on what the realtor is telling us. We also spoke with the Inspector himself and at the looks of it, he really wants to stick it to us. The General Contractors told me that the realtor can not possibly do anything for us even if he know someone in the office because at the end of the day we still need a licensed general contractor, electrical contractor, architect and such to take care of the violations for you. They said that no matter what we still had to deal with the inspector and he was not going away. My question is this: Can the realtor possibly do anything for us if he knows someone in the permit department? Or are the general contractors telling me the truth. One of them said that they have no idea how he possibly can help us because the permit department is many departments. So even if he know one manager in one department he still has to deal with the other departments violations. I just dont know who to trust at this point. I don't know if the contractors were giving me this info because they want my business and don't want to let me know that YES, there could be a loop hole that your realtor friend can go through to fix this for you. My second question is this: Since we are approaching the court date, I know that we can get an extension, but can we do this ourselves, or do we need a licensed contractor at this point to do the extension? I was told by the contractor that we cannot do this ourselves at this point. That the violations department needs to see that we have the proper licensed people in place to do the work before we can get the extension. Thank you in advance for any advice.
Sounds like you need someone to review everything happening that doesn't have a "dog in the hunt".
A local litigation attorney for maybe 100 for an hour ( you would have to check ) for a review and consultation for direction and next possible steps might be beneficial.
No legal advice given.
Hi Sherry, sorry to hear about your troubles.
At this point I would stop taking advice from your realtor 'friend'.
At this point all you can do is hire a licensed contractor to submit plans for the roof repair/replacement to the city.
Is the previous contractor licensed? Look up his license details online as I'm fairly certain he can be fined for doing work without permits. He is as much responsible as you.
Regarding the other violations, you are still responsible for them, although you didn't do the work because you're the home owner.
Again you need to hire a licensed contractor to submit plans to the city and rectify the violations.
Unfortunately there's no loophole.
@Sherry Hickey , I honestly do not have the answer to all of your questions, but I was at a BRIEA Meeting about 2 months ago where the Code Enforcement Managers were there for the city of Tamarac speaking to attendees on how to rectify code violations. They stated that they were very investor friendly and willing to work with investors. I may have the direct contact information for one of the managers. I will check my files to see if I still have their contact information for you.
Unfortunately, it seem as though a can of worms has been open due the contractor starting the work on the roof without a permit. Are you guys still working with the realtor and his contractor? You and/or your partner really have to get involved and get this rectified as soon as possible, based on the number of days your property has been sitting idled. I say start making all of the necessary phone calls and go down to the City to ask those questions to someone in the permitting department yourself. If you don't trust what the first few contractors were telling you, call some more out to the property to see if you get the same answers. I wish you guys the best of luck...
It aounds like everyone is telling you the same thing
You have to both get personally involved and give up on the realtor being in the middle of this. Go down and speak to the Building Inspector departmet. Tell them you need help and guidence. Someone might feel sorry for you and help. Get yourself a licensed contractor and get it over with. Do you have any pictures to show them of the overhang before you started work??
You made some wrong moves here and now you have to bite the bullet and take care of it. Don't fight with them just do what you have to do and take it as a lesson so you will never make the same mistake again.
Good luck and let us know
That sounds like a tough spot. I would drop the realtor fast. He should know better than getting non-permitted work done. I would contact the person that did the roof work and demand they pull a permits. Permits can be done for work already done. Go to city hall, ask for the head of the permitting department, explain your dilemma, explain you want to get in compliance, and ask him for his help because you had no idea what was happening and you were misled due to a "professional" you trusted. Good luck and let us know how things progress.
John Thedford, John Thedford | 239‑200‑5600 | http://www.capehomebuyers.com
You must be a BiggerPockets member to post on the forums
Join the world's largest, most open Real Estate Investing Community online, 100% free forever!