New Dobbs Ferry Law Affects All Real Estate Sales

Dobbs Ferry Village Hall
Seemingly without much fanfare or public notice, Dobbs Ferry recently changed its building code again, to require all property transfers to obtain an updated Certificate of Occupancy from the village. Irregardless of whether you own property that was built in 1912 or 2012; house, condo or co-op, you will be required to request the building department to inspect your property prior to any sale, to get what will now be called a CCO (Continuing Certificate of Occupancy). The fee will be $150. Currently, it will be good for 90 days after it is issued. Alternatively, you can wait up to 180 days after a successful inspection to get the CCO issued, at which time the 90 day clock starts. After that, a reinspection may be required for another $75 – $150.
This would appear to be a great new benefit for buyers of properties in Dobbs Ferry, to ascertain that the homes they are buying do in fact pass building department standards with respect to fire, safety and building codes.
On the seller side of the equation however, the idea that you would need a new CO for a home that already has an existing, building department issued CO, even if you’ve made no changes to the property, makes this sound less and less like a good thing for buyers and more and more like a new village transfer tax for sellers, once the costs of all the other possible fees are factored in. Especially if you need to bring a home up to conformity with current fire and safety standards as well as village records, which can often times be inaccurate.
There can be no doubt that this has the potential to open a whole Pandora’s box of issues for sellers of property in Dobbs Ferry. As a result, for any homeowner, this inspection needs to be addressed before a property is listed for sale.
For an unsuspecting seller, who perhaps has been living in a home for any number of years, to find out well after a deal with a buyer has been consummated, that their home does not match building department records or current fire and safety rules, even though it has an existing Certificate of Occupancy, this new change may be an abrupt awakening. That homeowner may need to hire an architect or plumber or electrician, with all the associated village permitting fees and possibly be required to bring certain updates before the various statutory boards in the village, taking valuable and expensive time away from a potential real estate sale. It remains to be seen how this new law will work out over time.
A PDF of the new law can be found here, from the Dobbs Ferry website: https://scottrosasco.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/home.pdf

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