I am dealing with a case where a home was built to code in the 60’s with an open porch that was built over the front yard setback (which is allowed by code if it is not enclosed). Some time in the 80’s the owner enclosed the porch without permits, creating a violation. We (the city) never caught it. Now, a new owner (the 3rd owner after the porch was enclosed) was notified by their insurance company that they would no longer be insured because the porch is in bad condition and it was built poorly and illegally.
I was approached because the new owner has applied for a variance to rebuild the enclosed porch over the setback and bring them into compliance. The issue is that they are the only home in the neighborhood that did this, the porch does not absolutely have to be enclosed and if they build it correctly the foundation would interfere with an underground utility.
My question is who is theoretically responsible for the screw up. The city, the past owner, the new owner’s title company or is there somebody else. I know this may be a case of buyer beware, but, I feel so bad that they people are getting screwed. I think they should at least know who is doing the screwing.