I am trying to purchase this house and fix all the problems. The city has done no physical work that I know of, just had meeting and hearings. Existing owners generally ignorded the city. The city should be happy to have the problem solved, and the existing owner gone
Cities can be very practical about exchanging uncollected penalties for reduced payment. Hire a good lawyer and negotiate this down to a commitment to an agreed-upon corrective plan with a modest cost cap.The City will get the worst of the problem fixed; the property will be improved. Win-win.
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Yes, it sounds excessive. If you are truly interested in purchasing this real property, I suggest you hire a real estate attorney who can discuss the penalty with the City before you put in an offer to purchase (or else condition your offer on your ability to conduct due diligence with respect to this issue).
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
It is likely that the penalty will not survive the sale, or that the city will not hold you responsible.
Contact the city and ask them what their policies are when it comes to new owners. Depending on their answer, you may need to retain an attorney to challenge the city.
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