Changes to the Open and Expire Permit Law to Take Effect in 2020

  • The State of Florida has enacted into law a new approach to closing out of open permits, aimed at helping real estate closings close on time;

  • Local governments can now close open and expired permits without inspection if it is determined no apparent safety hazards exist;

  • The new law also changes liability standards for contractors;

  • New contractors will no longer be liable for defects in work performed by prior contractor.

Governor DeSantis has signed into law HB 447 which will allow local governments to close out open and expired permits that have been open for more than 6 years. The law will take effect October 3, 2019.

In enacting the law, Florida has ostensibly created a more streamlined approach to real estate transactions, as one of the most common hurdles faced is an open or expired permit. In many instances open permits will prevent a transaction from closing timely, or in some cases, closing at all.

The new law will allow local governments to close the open building permit six years after the issuance of the permit, even without a final inspection, if it is determined that no apparent safety hazards exist. The law will also prevent local governments from penalizing the purchaser of a property solely based upon the previous owner’s failure to close an open permit.

The law further changes some standards related to construction. Most importantly, it provides a liability shield for a subsequent contractor who takes over for a previous contractor for defects in the work by the previous contractor. The law also allows for a subsequent contractor to close out the permit in accordance with the building code in effect at the time the work was commenced, provided that the work is already substantially completed.

The law will be good news for prospective homebuyers and contractors. The law may be problematic for homeowners, especially those who find defective work performed in their home as the new liability shields will inevitably lead to extensive finger pointing among contractors.

Rodriguez-Albizu Law is ready to answer any real estate questions you may have. Whether it is related to the purchase or sale of a property, or defective construction work, we can help make sense of the issues facing you. Get in touch now – https://www.ralawpa.com/contact/