Recently the Vermont Supreme Court has created a new class of potential encumbrances that may affect property and transfers. The Court has held that if the zoning Ordinance in effect in your town/City requires that your property have a certificate of occupancy, and if you do not, there is an encumbrance on the title. Your (or we) should confirm immediately with the town zoning administrator that your property has all of the permits it is required to have. You can do this yourself. If you go to the zoning administrator’s office to check on the status of the permits, please make copies of the building permit, certificates of inspection of your on-site septic system (if you have one), and certificates of occupancy and send them to us.

Since 1969 the State of Vermont has regulated certain kinds of property development in Vermont. In general, any subdivision of property, during or after 1969, which creates a lot of less than ten acres in size is required to have a permit from the Agency of Natural Resources. If your property was subdivided from other property during or after 1969 you or we must check the records of the Regional Engineer to see if a permit was issued and whether the permit required any certificates of inspection or reports. This takes some knowledge of the chain of title as the permits were typically issued in the name of the subdividing owner or developer.

The property may also need an Act 250 permit from the State of Vermont. In looking at the land records and from what we know of the use of the property, we will see if the Property appears to have need an Act 250 Permit. There are certain circumstances where the Property will have need an Act 250 Permit, but we will not be able to tell from the land records in the town or city where the property is located. As part of our basic representation of you, we will not able to make a conclusive determination whether the property needs an Act 250 Permit. We would be happy to undertake an additional investigation into this matter, although it will be at a substantial extra cost.

Condominiums, multifamily homes, rental unites and other public building are subjected to the State of Vermont Fire and Building Safety Code. To determine compliance with the Code, a Fire Safety inspection of the property may be required prior to sale. The resolution of any issues found with a Fire Safety Inspection will be negotiated between buyers and sellers, unless otherwise set forth in the Purchase & Sale Contract.

The State of Vermont issues stormwater discharge permits for development to govern discharge of water from streets, driveways, roofs and sidewalks to streams, rivers and lakes. The stormwater permits expire after a certain period of time and must be renewed. To periodically renew the permits, homeowner associations may need to bring maintenance up to date or reconstruct the stormwater systems to new standards. The cost of this work will be shared by all homeowners in an association.

We may find that there are questions and issues related to the permits that the property should have or has, but which may not be completely correct. If we do find a problem, correcting that problem may result in additional legal costs.