Selling your home in Malverne could become easier starting next month, but legalizing existing improvements done without the required permits could get pricier after June 1, 2013.
The Malverne village board will be holding a public hearing on Sept. 5 to consider amending a section of the village code pertaining to open house signage and a program to encourage residents to legalize any improvements made to their homes before its fee to do so more than triples.
"Five years ago, a law was passed that allowed a temporary sign to be placed outside an 'Open House' event on weekends," Trustee Michael Bailey told Patch. Before that, no signage was permitted on residents' lawns to advertise open houses.
Now, the village board is considering an amendment to this local law, which would allow the name of the brokerage selling the home to be included on the “Open House" sign. It would also permit up to four directional signs to be temporarily placed on village property to provide directions to the residence, making it easier for prospective buyers to find.
"The vilage always been protective of the way things look," Bailey said, explaining that officials have already been in touch with local brokers, who are aware that they would be limited to posting the signage on certain days and times. "Unless there is a lot of feedback from the public that they don't like it, my feeling is the board will be going along with it."
On Sept. 5, the board will also be considering implementing a temporary reconcilliation program to encourage residents to legalize home improvements that have been done without a permit.
"We have ongoing, professional dialogue with architects, engineers, building departments in other municipalities, and real estate professionals about ways to help residents with the primary goal of keeping them safe," Bailey said. "We hear from residents who are ready to sell their homes that banks and title companies are holding up the sale until all past violations are cleared up and their property matches the assessment records of the village. Also, new residents are often surprised when they discover that the home they were sold doesn’t match the records in the Building Department."
To help eliminate these hold-ups for residents trying to sell their homes and ensure the houses in the village are safe, the board is considering offering a one-time opportunity for homeowners to get permits to legalize unauthorized improvements and renovations.
If adopted by the board, the program would run from September 2012 through May 2013.
This temporary reconciliation program applies to applications for permits to maintain construction improvements and alterations, which had been done without first filing the required permits and inspections for code compliance, and without having paid tax on their improvements.
Under the program, applications to “legalize and maintain” unauthorized improvements will only be subjected to the current Building Permit fee of $300 per each improvement (on top of the individual permit fees).
The $300 charge is "substantially below the comparable fees in surrounding areas," says Bailey, adding that the village of Rockville Centre's fee to legalize a residential structure is $1,190, for instance. "In Lynbrook and Westbury, all fees are doubled to legalize and maintain," he explained. "In the Town of North Hempstead, the fee is quadrupled."
Come June 1, 2013, after the reconcillation program ends, Malverne will be raising its fee to legalize and maintain work done without permits to $1,000, more than triple what it is now, but still below what neighboring villages charge.
Residents wishing to speak up on these issues should attend the public hearings that will take place at Village Hall on Sept. 5 at 7:15 p.m.