Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Michigan Legislature Enacts "Owner Built Residence Transfer Act"

On Februray 13, 2008, the Michigan Legislature enacted SB 0577. The "Owner Built Residence Transfer Act" (PA 6 of 2008) is designed to protect homeowners who buy homes from unlicensed builders. The Act takes effect in 180 days.


Michigan law contains various provisions requiring a residential builder to be licensed, but this requirement does not aply to someone who is building their own home. Article 24 of the Occupational Code, however, permits an unlicensed property owner to act as a residential builder when building a home for their own use and occupancy. The exception has led to abuses by unlicensed builders, who build several homes per year "for their own use" and decide the sell them as soon as the house is completed. Effectively, such persons are acting as (unlicensed) residential builders.


The Owner Built Residence Transfer Act --
  • requires that an "owner-builder" who intends, at the onset of construction, to live in a "residential structure" either to live in it or place it for sale if he or she is unable to live there;
  • allows an owner-builder to sell only one owner-built residence per year;
  • prohibits an owner-builder who lives in a new residential structure from selling it or transferring ownership for at least 120 days;
  • requires an owner-builder, when offering a residential structure, to supply a notice that the structure was built by an owner-builder who was not a licensed builder;
  • specifies that an owner-builder who fails to comply with the disclosure requirements is liable for repair costs and the buyer's temporary shelter costs;
  • allows the buyer of an owner-builder residential structure to bring an action within 18 month for damages resulting from a violation of the disclosure requirements.
The Act includes the following definitions:
  • "Owner-builder" means an individual who is not a licensed residential builder and who builds, or acts as a general contractor for the construction of a residential structure in which that person, or a member of his or her family, actually resides or intends to occupy for his or her own use upon the issuance of an occupancy permit.
  • "Residential structure" means premises used or intended to be used for a residence purpose and related facilities appurtenant to the premises used or intended to be used as a adjunct of residential occupancy.
For more information about this issue, contact Peter Cavanaugh at Keranen & Associates, P.C., 6895 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48301, Tel: (248) 647-9653.

No comments: