buyers real estate closing attorney

Occupancy Affidavit When Buying a House – The What, Why, and So What?

Occupancy Affidavits When Buying a Residential Property

What is an Occupancy Affidavit? Why is it required? What can happen if it’s not honored?

When you buy a residential property, your bank will require you to sign an Occupancy Affidavit or Occupancy Agreement. This document will be signed under oath and notarized at closing.

What is an Occupancy Affidavit? This agreement will represent to your bank (the Lender) that you (the Buyer) will move into the property within the next 30 days, and usually require the Buyer to live there for a certain period of time, for example 1 year. There is no standard occupancy affidavit, and each Lender generates their own agreement, so the exact terms and language will vary from one Lender to the other.

Why Do Lenders Require Occupancy Agreements? The necessity of the occupancy agreement is due to the difference between loan packages for personal residences and investment properties. Residential loan packages come with lower interest rates while investment loan packages have higher interest rates, due to higher risk factors with investment properties that will be rented out. If the Lender is going to be giving the Buyer a personal residence loan package, they want an assurance that they will in fact be living there.

So What? What If the Buyer Does Not Honor the Occupancy Affidavit? Since the Affidavit is signed under oath and notarized, and since its terms are clear or “unambiguous,” it will be fairly easy for the Lender to enforce their rights in court. Failure to honor an occupancy affidavit is considered mortgage fraud. The most likely result is that the Lender, upon discovering a misrepresentation, can immediately call the entire outstanding amount of the mortgage note. There may also be additional civil and criminal penalties. How would the bank find out? New “Risk Management” software can help Lenders use your credit card bureau information (public records) and and tax documents (which you agree to provide as part of any closing) to determine your primary residence and check it against the property you purchased, quickly and easily.

When buying real estate property you should always seek the expertise of an experienced real estate closing attorney. Part of your attorney’s job is to evaluate your goals for the property and make sure you are getting the proper loan package.


Child Injuries Caused by Motorists Failure to Stop for School Bus

A recent video posted by ABC World News shows the gross negligence and recklessness of drivers as they pass school buses unloading children. While the video is national in scope, Connecticut statistics for infractions issued for failure to stop for a school bus show that our State has a similar problem.

Connecticut General Statute 14-279 requires that any motor vehicle shall immediately stop not less than 10 feet in front of or behind a school bus displaying flashing red lights on any highway, private road, parking area or school grounds. Authorized emergency vehicles are also required to stop. It should be noted that the statute only requires the bus to display flashing red lights, and does not require use of the STOP sign commonly found on the sides of buses.

In 2011, there were 582 ticketed offenses for passing an unloading school bus. Between 2007 and 2011 there were a total of 3,107 ticketed offenses. Those are the numbers JUST for Connecticut. That’s 3,107 potentially life threatening injuries to children.

When the law was first being enacted in 1985, the Executive Director of the Connecticut School Transportation Association at that time, Robin Leeds, called the passing of unloading school buses “the most serious problem in school transportation”. She noted that back then “all our fatalities occur here” and “our most severe injuries as well”.

The fine for passing a school bus unloading children is $450 per occurrence. However, the main risk is that of injuring a child. When injury is caused to another in the process of breaking a law, that action is considered negligence per se. Therefore, drivers passing a school bus that injure a child shall be liable for the injuries to that child without having to prove negligence; negligence will be assumed by the court.

Between football injuries and bullying, many parents spend a lot of time worrying about how safe their children are at school. However, there seems to be just as much if not more risk in getting the children to and from school safely. If your child is injured in an accident while getting on or off of a school bus remember one thing: it was not an accident, it was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. You should seek the help of experienced personal injury attorneys, especially those with experience handling child injury matters. At G&G Law, LLC our attorneys work together to combine their experiences in personal injury matters and their experience in representing the welfare and interests of children, to seek proper compensation for injured children and their parents.

The ABC World News Video can be seen HERE.

Town of Bethel Approves 71 Home Toll Brothers Development Named “Bethel Crossings”

Driving past the Bethel Police Station, one quickly notices that work has recently begun on a new development on Maple Avenue and Maple Avenue Extension. The development, named “Bethel Crossings”, shall consist of 71 two store single family homes on 2.6 acres.

Toll Brothers, a real estate development company with offices in Newtown, was able to obtain town approval with multiple stipulations from the Planning & Zoning and Inland Wetlands commissions.

Toll Brothers shall set aside 6 acres for open space, and the developments drainage plan is to help the surrounding area control flooding.

A New Times article regarding the approved development can be found here.