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Fire Escapes

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CKrinsky

Freshman Member
Joined
May 29, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
I searched before asking this time to avoid annoying anyone...
Three family residence, supposedly, still waiting for answer from bldg inspector. Owner insists it is; said he will get letter from BI proving it, etc.

However, basement is an apartment; first and second floor is one apartment, and third "apartment" is in the attic, which is the "third floor"; with no permanently-affixed fire escape. Per FNMA guidelines, can third floors without fire escapes even be included in GLA? I was under the impression they could not.
 

Frederick R. Ruffell

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Connie,
Really not enough info. to get a good take on the situation. But here are my questions.
1. Why are you dealing with a building inspector or the building department on this issue. Might I suggest the assessors office or the planning department.
2. What does the "assessors record/tax card" or "public record" say it is, SFR, or 2,3,4 units?
3. as far as fire escapes are concerned, that is a code compliance issue that might be best answered by the building department or even the fire department. If there is no second egress for the third floor I would call it out and let the lender make the call. In fact one of my better clients (large direct lender bank) has us make the report "subject to " and then in CAPS. "LENDER NOTIFICATION" and then a brief description of the issue.
4. Does the "third" floor 'Attic" have a full 8 feet of headroom?
 

CKrinsky

Freshman Member
Joined
May 29, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
The reason I checked with building/zoning is because the owner insists that it's a legal three family, stating that he received a variance to use it as such. The assessor classified as a two family, however, their records do not always reflect the accurate legal use per building/zoning. It is in a single family zone, but is an older house so needed to check a. if it's legal non-conforming and b. if it's legal use is actually a three family per the homeowner's belief.
 

Frederick R. Ruffell

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Well Connie it sounds like you are on the right track. If it were me I would appraise it as what the assessor says it is and disclose the Owners assertions. OR appraise it as a 3 unit property "subject to" the owner providing documentation of the 3 unit variance. It is NOT the appraisers job to dig for variances, unless of course this was covered in the original engagement letter.
Good Luck and keep us posted.
 
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