How Building Codes Protect the Buyer

Building codes are designed to provide minimum standards to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality, use and occupancy, location and maintenance of all buildings and structures. Some codes (plumbing codes, electrical codes and fire codes) are divided into specialized areas. Codes are enforced by the issuing of building permits and certificates of occupancy and by inspections, with fines being imposed on violators.

Any owner contemplating an addition and/or change to his or her property should first check with the appropriate county or municipal building department to avoid any building code violations, which will generally render a seller's title unmarketable. In addition, a seller's failure to disclose such violations (they have knowledge of) may constitute a material misrepresentation, entitling the buyer to rescind the transaction and obtain the return of his or her money.

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