Should a builder know that they can obtain permits to build a house before having the existing house removed?

UPDATED: Jan 23, 2011

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Should a builder know that they can obtain permits to build a house before having the existing house removed?

We had an old run down house that was our primary residence and decided to get a builder to build a new house. Builder came out said yes we’ll build you a house here. We signed the contract and the builder insisted that as soon as we moved out he would get rid of the house so that he could start building. The house has been gone (sold for $1000 just to get rid of it fast) for 3 months and now the builder says he can’t build because the city wants area brought up to code. City says easement must be 30′ paved road and a fire hydrant must be put in. Is this something the builder should eat the cost of?

Asked on January 23, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

In the first instance of reading this question my gut reaction was "of course the builder should pay for those other fees because you relied on his expertise on knowing the codes that were applicable to your situation in entering in to the contract."  But being an attorney I have to say first: read your contract.  If the contract states that you are to pay an additional fees associated with this issue - or if it even addresses the issue at all - then you are bound by what you agreed to.  Please take the contract to an attorney to review on your behalf.  You may be able to use the argument that I indicated above to get out of the contract with the builder but I would take that step as a last resort if things do not look good for you.  You may want to get another estimate for building the house now knowing what you know about bringing the property up to code.  Good luck to you.

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