Minnesota  |  Real Estate Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/08/13, 9:01 am

I just purchased a home in Lakeville, MN

A month after closing I was notified by the previous owner that the neighbor filed a complaint that the shed he installed many years back was too close to the property line and he has to move it. (Previous owner and the neighbor have been feuding for a few years and my previous owner had filed a complaint on him this spring for having too much "stuff' in his yard. Here are the facts.

4/26/13 Seller Disclosure signed by owner

Major remodeling done

6/5 We viewed the house and wrote up an offer

6/6 Purchase offer was presented to the owner

6/7 Complaint was filed by neighbor.

6/7 Offer was accepted by the owner

6/10 Building official viewed shed, took pictures. Two people were at the home that he went in and spoke with. One of them was my realtor and the other was the previous owners designer/contractor for the remodeling. He informed them of the fact that the shed was not in compliance and would need to be moved. The designer/contractor contacted the listing agent and informed her. A few days later, my realtor asked their realtor if there was an issue, and she replied no, no issue. Previous owner reports he new nothing of this issue (other than the neibghbor "saying" he was going to be filing complaint earlier.)

7/3 we closed on the house

7/17 Building Official mailed letter to previous owner that the complaint was filed, no permit was obtained to build shed and it was not compliant with the city ordinance. He was informed to obtain the proper permit and move the shed by 8/2.

8/7 Previous owner contacts me to say he needs to move the shed and asked if we could assist him by tying chains to the shed and dragging it forward to the correct location. (this shed needed to move forward 5 1/2 feet and 2 1/2 feet to the side. Shed sits on concrete pavers (sand underneath pavers), and surrounded by a border of landscape rock. He would do nothing to repair any damage done to the yard or anything to accommodate the new location, or clean up. Just drag it.

Question: Who is responsible for moving the shed.

1) It was assessed to be not in compliance when the previous owner was still the owner.

2) Letter to the owner was mailed after the house was closed and I was the owner.

3) At time of closing, no disclosure was made that there was pending issue with the shed.

FYI.. When we asked the city official who is responsible, he noted that the current home owner is, but he was not sure and should seek legal council.

I received quotes to relocate and to remove the shed and advised previous owner of the costs. We came to an agreement that he would come over and tear it down, which he and a friend did (9/1) and I now have the remaining ground (pavers, sand, and rock) to clean up. He is asking for compensation to dispose of the shed material. Hence my curiosity of who is truly responsible.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank You in advance!


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