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Real Estate Investor Settles Lawsuit Filed By Department of License and Inspection



Our real estate investor client purchased a single-family home in North Philadelphia with the intention of renovating it into a residential duplex. During the course of the renovation project, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issued a Notice of Violation against our client because they had failed to obtain a proper zoning permit and building permit for their renovation project. Our client plan is to construct an additional two-story at the rear of the preexisting building structure, which allows for the proposed multifamily use of the property. 

According to the Notice of Violation, L&I would levy a specified monetary fine for every day that our client failed to remedy the stated property violations. In order to obtain the zoning permit, our client was required to seek and obtain special permission from the City of Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) because the proposed use of the property was not allowed as of right under the Philadelphia Zoning Code.

Our real estate investor client hired another law firm to handle the zoning variance process for this renovation project. When the other law firm applied for and obtained the zoning variance for the multifamily living, it mistakenly did not reveal that the proposed use of the property would be included within an expanded building structure.  By failing to do so, our real estate investor could not obtain the requisite building permit to legalize the construction work and, therefore, had to restart the zoning variance process.

At this point, the team at Nochumson P.C. was retained. Our objective was to not only restart the zoning variance process, but also work closely with L&I in order to prevent it from pursuing any available remedies it may have had against our client. While the appeal for the requested zoning variance was pending before the ZBA, we were able to obtain repeated continuances of the litigation commenced in state court against our real estate investor client.

We ably guided our client through the zoning variance process and subsequently obtained the zoning and building permits from L&I. After doing so, we were able to convince L&I to withdraw the litigation pending against our real estate investor client and, as part of an agreed-upon settlement entered between the parties, L&I waived almost all of the monetary fines which it levied against our client, saving them tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

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