Realtors, sellers, and buyers all agree that Toms River Township had everyone’s best interests in mind. However, the well-intentioned move has gotten out of hand, and is now costing people as much as $60,000 in losses.
The town wanted to protect homebuyers in the robust housing market. With buyers fighting over every property that hits the market, buyers were at risk of overlooking critical property flaws. On July 1st, the town stepped in to require certain minimum standards, before they will issue a Municipal Certificate of Continued Use and Occupancy (MCCUO) and allow a sale to proceed.
But the list of demands, inspections, and rules grew like a runaway lie, and sellers now face a long list of inspection requirements, each with hefty fees, before they can close on a property. The delay can add up to months. In many cases, the wasted time may cause the value of the property to drop, literally slashing tens of thousands from the sale price.
One seller told LNN that his house was held up for paperwork for three months. In the meantime, the market value of his home dropped by $60,000, and the buyer demanded a discount on his contracted price.
Toms River residents have started a petition to get the mayor and council to revisit the rules, and moderate or modify them. Thus far, councilmembers have been approached on the topic numerous times, and say they will address it at some, unknown, future time.
Among the list of requirements for a MCCUO are:
- Application fee: $300
- Follow up inspection: $150
- Heat certification: $300
- Pool bonding: $500
- Well certificate: $1,200
- Any work needed, included simple plumbing and electrical present in every home, such as replacing a GFCI circuit or door-close spring: certified contractor required, $1,500 – $2,000
- Homes built before 1995: Township may not have building plans on file. New plans must be drawn, $5,000 plus weeks of delay
- Open permits: must be reinstated (3-week delay) and closed out. Inspections for MCCUO will not begin until all permits and certifications have been closed out
- Open permits from before 1999: town must search for microfilm records. Additional three-week delay, fees, and possible failure to locate documents- requiring a refiling.
- Realtor advertised number of bedrooms or bathrooms different than township records: Buyer must sign affidavit
- Repurposed rooms, such as a den used as a bedroom: seller must file new engineering drawings and revisit zoning of the home
- Accessory buildings: requires electrical certification
- Uncooperative tenant on property: inspections and certifications cannot start; no temporary MCCUO option.
The petition has garnered nearly a thousand signatures, and will be sent to council members. Signatories are asking for the council to at least supply some measure of flexibility until the rules can be adjusted.
Toms River Councilmember Justin Lamb has heard the petition, and is calling on council members to repeal the ordinance.