Real Estate Brokers’ Worst Code Violations: From Grow Houses to Hidden Septics

Jaclyn Bild, a broker associate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Miami Beach, encountered a challenging situation in March 2023. She listed an Old Spanish-style home in Coral Gables, built in 1926, for $935,000. The property boasted a large tiled patio with a pergola. However, unbeknownst to the owner, there was a hidden septic tank buried beneath the patio—a violation as it’s not permissible to construct anything heavy over a septic tank and drain field.

The prior seller had failed to disclose the existence of the septic tank when the current owner purchased the home, and the owner lived with this hidden issue for about two years. When the property went under contract and the buyer requested an inspection of the tank, they discovered it under the tiled patio and pergola, realizing it was a violation. The inspectors found the tank to be old, cracked, and leaking raw sewage into the ground, rendering the house uninhabitable.

The deal with the initial buyer fell through, prompting Jaclyn to take swift action. She contacted a reputable septic company, obtained a quote for sealing off the existing tank, and installing a new one in the front of the house, complete with all-new plumbing. When another buyer expressed interest, Jaclyn disclosed the situation and offered a credit for the cost of the entire project. Fortunately, the buyer had private financing and was able to proceed with the purchase, ultimately closing on the property.

*Article courtesy of Costar

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