If you’ve previously bought an older home or cottage, or have renovated in the past, you’ve likely come across the term “lawful prior non-conforming use”, but frankly, most people know it more informally as “grandfathered”.  The term ‘grandfathered’ is used rather often when it comes to real estate and property ownership when issues arise with the existing property that no longer conform to by-laws, ordinances, or construction standards. For example, you may be dealing with an electrical, plumbing or construction issue in and older home that doesn’t meet the current building codes. Or, perhaps your shed was built too close to the neighbour’s yard long before you moved in. As long as your building is safe, it may not have to be upgraded, relocated or torn down to meet the more current requirements – it’s been “grandfathered in”. However, any new construction, additions or renovations like Curtain Wall Birmingham installation must meet the new building code or other by-law requirements.

How does it all work?

First of all, every case and every property is unique, so there can never be a blanket issue that is always “grandfathered” across the board. When reviewing an issue, inspectors, by-law officers and/or real estate lawyers first look at the records and the history of the property, then review all the facts in relation with municipal and provincial building codes.

If you are selling an older home or cottage, you may be concerned about whether certain issues comply with new zoning laws or building codes. In many cases, sellers can rest easy if the issue was already established before the new requirements were made, and if the use was lawful under the old zoning (and if legal permits were obtained at the time). In legal terms, we call it “lawful prior non-conforming use”.

Additionally, when selling an old home, several essential upgrades and services become necessary to attract potential buyers and secure a favorable deal. Plumbing inspections and repairs are crucial to address any leaks or damaged pipes, ensuring that the property is free from water-related issues. Installing a water softener with the help of a water softener installation specialist can improve the quality of the water supply, making it more appealing to potential buyers. Electrical updates and safety checks are vital to modernize the home and ensure it meets current safety standards. According to experts like an hvac contractor, HVAC maintenance or upgrades enhance comfort and energy efficiency, which are attractive features for buyers. Lastly, decluttering with the assistance of professional business waste removal services helps present the home in its best light, making it more appealing and allowing potential buyers to envision their future in a clean and well-organized space. These services not only increase the market value of an old home but also provide peace of mind to both sellers and buyers.