Most Residential Sale Contracts places the burden of clearing open permits upon the Seller. However, to ensure a smooth closing and avoid open permit issues, Buyers should look into the existence and status of open permits on the property they wish to purchase well in advance of the closing.
If a Buyer finds an open permit on an as-is sale, they can cancel the Contract ONLY if they are within the Inspection Period. If it happens that the Buyer doesn’t check the permits until two days before closing, is the Buyer out of luck? If the Buyer is out of their inspection period, yes. Ideally, the Buyer should do a permit check prior to the Inspection Period, even BEFORE presenting an offer, so the Buyer can address any issues when writing the offer.
Buyers or Sellers can hire an independent professional "permit expeditor" to do the leg work if they do not have the time to look into this themselves, but this is not something your real estate agent should handle (although they may have the name(s) of people who do this line or work and can make a recommendation).
EWM has made available this Comprehensive List of Web Site Links to assist Sellers in determining if there are open, cancelled, or expired permits on a given property. This is a clickable list of all the various towns in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties in one place. Each town is different. Some towns handle their own permits through their own Building and Zoning Departments, And some town web sites link back to the County.
These web sites are designed differently—if that particular town offers this service online, you may be able to click once and find what you need immediately, or you may need to search a little once you are on a particular town's site. Whenever possible, we have provided the most direct route to the information you need.
In some cases, the information you need may not be offered or available on their web site, and you may find just a name and phone number of a department to call.