Investor / Flipper breaking the law

Investor / FlipperI recently did an inspection in Miami. The seller was an investor who bought this home to flip it. His goal was to make $100,000.00 after the sale. All work done on this house was done without permits. He actually even admitted that he had not permits, and stated that it would have been too expensive had he pulled them – it would have cost him another $40,000.00. There are multiple fines that could be associated if the building department gets involved and the non-permitted areas may have to be brought up to current code, which will add to the expense.

My client backed out of the deal. We did not even complete the inspection. Here is a list of the items found to be wrong in the first 30-45 minutes of being on the property:

  1. The front windows had been replaced. There were missing framing screws and the installed screws were not screwed in all the way, plus the windows were not impact rated, nor was there any impact protection (shutters) installed.
  2. The kitchen and bathrooms had been remodeled. Improper piping was used under all of the sinks. He used flex pipe, which is not approved under the Florida Building Code. No GFCI protection was installed, as required, at the outlets, yet all of the outlets were new. Both bathrooms had stall showers installed. Neither of the floors were sloped properly and they did not drain – water remained on the floor.
  3. He claimed the AC system was new. The date plate had been removed from the condenser unit, and the air handler serial number indicated that the unit was a 2007. The service disconnect behind the condenser unit had improper work clearance and was missing its cover plate.
  4. The flat roof was older but did not have any permits on file with the city. There was a missing lead shield on one of the vent stacks, and there was no flashing / pitch pan at the electrical weather head.
  5. A new electrical service panel had been installed with no permits on file. Inside the house there were multiple outlets that were not properly grounded.
  6. The water heater was new and installed with no permits. There was no electrical disconnect within sight of the unit, nor was there a water shut off valve installed.

My client was able to cancel his contract and able to get his inspection fee back. The sad part is, and I am not sure if this is true or not, the seller told my client that he had another buyer, who also had an inspection, but indicated that his inspection passed with flying colors. Either he is lying or the other inspector does not know what he is doing.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. Miami home inspector

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