Establishes certain requirements if purchasing and reselling same single-family home within one year of receiving certificate of occupancy.
Sponsored by: Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex), Assemblywoman YVONNE LOPEZ District 19 (Middlesex)
This bill establishes requirements to be followed by short-term resellers to ensure necessary precautions are taken if work is performed on houses intended to be resold within a year of purchase. “Short-term reseller” is defined in the bill to mean a single-family homeowner, including any person, firm, corporation, bank as defined pursuant to P.L.1975, c.265 (C.17:16E-1 et seq.), or other entity who (1) purchased a single-family home; (2) renovated, enlarged, repaired, or in any way altered the home; and (3) offered the home for resale within one year of the receipt of the certificate of occupancy. “Single-family home” is defined as a detached private residential structure or a private residential townhome attached to another private residential structure.
Among the stipulations in the bill is that which, prior to the commencement of the closing process, requires a short-term reseller who is selling a single-family home to attest to following certain requirements for permits in the State Uniform Construction Code (“UCC”) for the duration of time the reseller owned the home. The attestation will be made part of the contract of sale for the single-family home. Moreover, an inspection of the single-family home purchased from a short-term reseller will be required prior to the conclusion of the closing process to help ensure the requirements of the UCC were followed. The inspection is to be performed by a New Jersey-licensed home inspector chosen by the buyer and paid for by the short-term reseller through a credit to the buyer or other means agreed to by the reseller and buyer.
A short-term reseller who falsely attests to following the requirements of the UCC will be liable, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, to a penalty of up to $10,000. A licensed home inspector will not be liable under the bill for the failure to identify a violation of the UCC if the inspector demonstrates that a good faith effort was made to ensure the renovation, enlargement, repair, or other alteration was made in compliance with the requirements of the UCC. An administrative penalty will be incurred by the inspector if it is demonstrated that there was a failure to identify a violation of the UCC as a result of negligence or bad faith.
Additionally, a short-term reseller will have no private cause of action against a licensed home inspector who fails to identify a violation of the UCC. The bill stipulates, though, that a person or entity who buys a single-family home from a short-term reseller and who sustains damages within the first year after the purchase of the home as a result of noncompliance by the short-term reseller with UCC requirements has a right to a cause of action against the short-term reseller in a court of competent jurisdiction. The court may award actual damages sustained as a result of the noncompliance, reasonable attorney's fees, costs of suit, and any other remedy available at law.
Lastly, the Department of Community Affairs is to develop and undertake a public education program designed to inform New Jersey residents of the provisions of the bill.