So I finally heard from some lawyers. Here's a little background on the problem:
The old owner turned the garage into a studio apartment. They did so without letting the city know that they were doing it, which is not that uncommon. The problem is, the city found out and sent along some nice violation paperwork. The violation has not yet been cleared (two or so years later) and one of the addenda (I just found out that that is how you pluralize 'addendum') to the Purchase and Sales basically says if the violation is not cleared by the current owner by closing, then it becomes my responsibility.
I am generally OK with is, as I don't think much will need to be done in order to clear the violation (remove the kitchen for final inspection most likely). I just wanted to be sure that everything is OK before signing off, so I asked my lawyer to take a look into it.
I got a call this morning from said lawyer and he outlined the problem. He said that, depending on the inspector, I may have to convert the studio back into a garage in order to clear the violation. That would be bad. He advised me to check with the city folks, who I love, to see what would be needed.
I called the city offices this morning, after I hung up with my lawyer, in order to get some more info. The first person I talked to didn't know much about the violation stuff, but checked into the property for me anyways. She said that the violation isn't her department, but it should be taken up with Inspections and Standards. She also said that she didn't see the violation I was inquiring about, but mentioned in passing that there were a few others.
I asked about those, implying that there should only be one, as that's all I was aware of. She said, with a chuckle, that there are nine violations on the property, not including the garage/studio.
My eyes widened, a little less than an ounce of pee squirted out and I readied myself for the descriptions of the violations.
She went through them one by one, and luckily, they are things like, 'a first floor window is broken' and 'paint the exterior'. Basically, my pee could retreat back into my body, as the nine violations she was talking about were things I was already planning on doing. Phew.
The next step is to talk to the folks at Inspections and Standards and find out what it will take to clear the violation. Al Medina, General Contractor mentioned awhile back that it would most likely involve removing the kitchen and some other minor stuff. No big deal. I am inclined to believe him, as he deals with this crap all of the time.
Why did my lawyer say I may have to convert it back to a garage? Because that's his job. His job is to be worried about things. He then passes that worry along to his clients.
I should know within a day what it will take to clear the violation. I am still confident that I will purchase the property, but I'd rather hear from the inspector what it will cost me...