Selling Plum Island Homes with Bedrooms Not Matching Public Record

Because older homes on Plum Island have evolved from cottages to larger homes, we often find that City records reflect fewer bedrooms than the homeowner has in the house. In many cases, bedrooms have been added and lower levels have been finished without a permit. Selling Plum Island homes with bedrooms not matching public record can be an issue.

What to do About Plum Island Homes with Bedrooms Not Matching Public Record

Sellers should not risk offering a house for sale with more bedrooms than approved by the City. There are two possible solutions to the problem. The first depends on when the renovations were completed and the second involves the number of bedrooms that were added on.

Statute of Limitations

If the renovations were made many years ago, there is a statute of limitations on additional structures/changes without a building permit that can require the city to accept older changes. However, this is not as straight forward as it sounds.

Water Sewer Changes

Before public water and sewer was installed, the number of bedrooms in a home were controlled by the capacity of the systems in place and other city guidelines. When the public water and sewer system was put in years ago, a rule was adopted that allowed every house to have one additional bedroom more than what existed at that time of the change. It may be possible to ask the city to recognize an additional bedroom in the house (compared to the number of bedrooms they have listed in their records).

Selling Plum Island Homes

When selling Plum Island homes, be sure to check the public records and compare the information listed. If the home contains a number of bedrooms not matching the public records, speak to the Building Department and understand your rights and options. You may or may not be able to resolve the situation using the 2 scenarios above. The renovations must also meet local building and safety codes.

About Editor-John P. Wells

I am a resident of Newburyport and have worked in education, high tech and urban development. My interests in architecture and construction are invaluable to my clients. For more information please visit the Wellsco website.