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I am taxed for it, therefore it exists!

January 21, 2011

I am taxed for it, therefore it exists! Au contraire mon frere, think again!

New Milford, CT Real Estate Talk.

New Milford CT real estate talkJust because you are taxed on it does NOT mean your 4 season sunporch, your deck, whatever improvement you may have made on your house is allowed. Yesterday I wrote about obtaining those pesky building permits for work done on your home in New Milford, CT. You can read it here.

The building department and the tax assessors office do not speak to each other. And the tax assessors office and the zoning department don’t speak either! OK, it has nothing to do with the fact that they don’t like each other. They probably like each other just fine! But what you are taxed on and what you have in your file at the building department may not match and neither department will be the wiser until… go to sell the house.

But you know when they will sit down and have a very long conversation? When it comes to light you made alterations without going through the process of obtaining a building permit, without zoning approval. They will talk to each other and then talk to you, and it won’t be pleasant!

A fellow Realtor® from another part of the country left me a comment in my previous post about a house that had been divided into apartments after zoning was put in effect. The owner had enjoyed the luxury of rental income. Years later the house went on the market, buyer finds out the owner didn’t get permits for the alterations even though the house was being taxed as a multi family home. End result? The house is deemed a single family home by the city. Think that will make a difference to the sale? You bet…. My guess is the owner was told to remove the apartments, talk about a nightmare!

I have seen it happen myself. Homeowner put in an apartment quite a while ago, after zoning regs went into effect here in New Milford. For years the owner rents out the apartment, the owner is taxed as a multi family. Great set up, nice house, 2 car garage with a sweet income producing apartment attached. But uh oh… the owner only had a permit to put in an “accessory apartment”. There was not supposed to be a kitchen, it was never meant to be rented. Fast forward to many years later, the house is on the market when this fact comes to light. The town could have insisted the owner remove the kitchen in the apartment. The buyer was ready to walk, the mortgage approved was based on the rental income. After 2 zoning hearing, attorney fees, building department meetings, time wasted, stress, anger, the building department approved the structure, the zoning department allowed the rental apartment, the house was legally changed to a multi family. Talk about a headache! It took months to fix the situation. For this particular home owner the end result was a good one, however it was tense.

Do not assume that because you are taxed on it that your improvement made without a permit will be ok. And no, the town won’t be reimbursing you all that extra tax money you paid for your illegal improvement! But they may make you remove it! Just because you are taxed for it does NOT mean it exists!

Stay tuned for more New Milford CT real estate talk.

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