Effective October 1st, 2017, Connecticut General Statute § 29-265 will be amended by adding a subsection (c), that will automatically close certain open building permits nine years after a municipality issues them if a certificate of occupancy has not been granted by the building official. The automatic closure will apply to open building permits for construction or alteration of a one or two-family dwelling, or a structure located on a parcel with such a dwelling. For the purposes of the new subsection, “structure” will have the same meaning as it does in the municipality’s zoning regulations. If not defined locally by the municipality, “structure” will mean any combination of materials that is affixed to land, including a shed, garage, sign, fence, wall, pool, patio, tennis court, or deck.
Automatic closure will serve as a bar to enforcement actions by the municipality based on an open building permit. Municipalities and their officers and employees will not be liable with respect to any claim related to an automatically closed building permit pursuant to this section.
Many towns are now sending letters to residents with open permits seeking to set up inspections to address old open permits, in light of the pending change in the law.
It is critical to note that this change in law does not address situations where the resident failed to take out a permit for work that required permitting. The failure to take out a permit can still result in various enforcement actions by the municipality and the inability to obtain a certificate of occupancy. These situations often become a problem for the homeowner at the time of a sale, when a prospective buyer learns that permits were not taken out for various renovations. These typically include finishing a basement, adding central air, adding a deck or adding a bathroom.
If you have any questions about how this amendment may impact you, we are here to help. Contact one of our experienced Real Estate attorneys at Rome Clifford Katz & Koerner, (860) 527-7044.