- Building/Community Development
- Change of Occupancy Inspections
The Village of Park Forest Inspection Program is a visual and functional inspection. Violations that are found at the time and place the inspection takes place are noted in a violation letter. Basically, this means that at the time the inspector goes to the home, anything he/she sees should be working as it is intended. As an example, there is no ordinance that states a home must have air conditioning; however, if an air conditioner is present, it needs to be in working condition. Technical inspections are not performed by the Village inspector. A heating certificate is required to be provided by a contractor who is licensed by the Village. Fireplace certifications are also required. Other certifications may be required, depending upon what is found during the inspection: electrical, plumbing, roofing, exterminating, etc. It is highly recommended that a buyer obtains a private professional inspection to protect their interests.
Applying For Change of Occupancy Inspection
Are you renting or selling your home? In the late 1980s, the Village of Park Forest instituted a Change of Occupancy Inspection Program. Any time the occupants of a home change (whether the property is for sale or for rent), an inspection is required. This program exists to:
- Forewarn and protect you from dangerous or unsatisfactory housing conditions
- Preserve the existing housing stock in Park Forest
- Prevent the deterioration of residential buildings
- Provide an effective way of enforcing the Village’s building, housing, and health codes
- Enhance the quality of life in our urban environment
An application must be applied for a minimum of seven days prior to when the inspection is needed. Inspections are scheduled between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays only (Monday through Friday). If any violations are identified, a reasonable amount of time will be given to correct them. After the repairs are completed, contact the initial housing inspector to perform a re-inspection of the property. Occupancy can only occur after a Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
Application for Change of Occupancy Inspection – Sale of Property
- Copy of signed and dated sales contract
- $100 inspection fee
- After the initial inspection, the Buyer may assume the responsibility for abating any violations found during the inspection by signing a waiver form. After the property has closed and the Buyer has completed the repairs, a re-inspection would take place. The property must remain vacant until the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
Application for Change of Occupancy Inspection – Rental Property
- Copy of signed and dated lease
- $100 inspection fee ($50 for multi-family units)
- Property must be vacant at the time of inspection (no personal belongings)
- As of March 1, 2008, all landlords must be registered through the Park Forest Police Department under the regulations of the Village of Park Forest’s Crime Free Housing Ordinance. Please contact the Police Department for further information at 708-748-4700
All properties must be ready for inspection at the time of application, and all utilities must be turned on. Items to be checked during the interior inspection include, but are not limited to:
- Carbon monoxide detector (within 15 feet of every sleeping area) as of Jan. 1, 2007
- Smoke detectors operational – one on every level of the dwelling, one in each sleeping area, and one in the common hallway nearest the sleeping area
- Windows open and close properly and are screened; no cracked or broken glass
- All sinks, tubs, faucets, handles, and drain pipes are leak-free
- All gas supply lines have a shut-off valve
- Furnace and water heaters function properly
- Certification of the heating appliance required (contractor must be licensed by the Village of Park Forest)
- Chimney flue cleaned and checked if a fireplace is present
- Electrical service panel boxes (fuse or breaker) are correctly identified
- Electrical service upgrade to 100 amp service required (MCO 18-290 adopted Jan. 1, 2006)
- Electrical certification may be required
- No electrical wires are exposed
- GFI outlets are required within 6 feet of every water source, and all exterior outlets
- Proper sump pump connections and discharge
Items to be checked during the exterior inspection include, but are not limited to:
- No chipping, peeling, or flaking paint
- Siding or brick mortar tuck pointing is not damaged
- Chimney is capped
- Property is free of debris, yard waste, branches
- Driveways and walkways have not deteriorated
- Grass and weeds are not more than eight inches in height
- Fences need to be secure and structurally sound
If items are found, and repairs need to be made, please obtain the proper Building Permits prior to performing the work. Failure to obtain permits could delay the sale of Transfer Stamps when a property is being sold. If, during the course of the inspection, it is determined that work was done on the home that required a building permit, but the permit was not applied for, view additional information. A private professional inspection by an inspector of your choice may be obtained but will not be accepted in lieu of the Village inspection.
"AS IS" Sales
In order for the Change of Occupancy inspection to take place when a property is being sold, the dwelling must be turn-key ready for the new occupant to move in. When the property is not ready for inspection, or if the buyer chooses to purchase the property “AS IS”, the inspection becomes the responsibility of the buyer.
In order to sell transfer stamps in this situation, the buyer would need to sign and have notarized the Village of Park Forest “Buyer Letter”. This form states that the buyer is aware they cannot move anyone or any personal possession into the home until it passes the change of occupancy inspection. The buyer is also responsible for paying for and scheduling the inspection once the property is brought into turnkey compliance and is ready for inspection.
When purchasing a home “AS IS”, the Village strongly encourages the buyer to have a private professional inspection completed prior to purchasing the property. In addition, it would benefit the buyer to complete a “Freedom of Information” form, and view what building permits and/or improvements were made to the property.
In order to purchase transfer stamps for “AS IS” sales, the following is required:
- A copy of the signed/dated sales contract. The contract should state this is an “AS IS” purchase.
- Signed/notarized Village of Park Forest "Buyer Letter"
- Completed "New Buyer Information" form
- Village of Park Forest Transfer Declaration Form
Transfer stamps are $5/$1,000 based on the purchase price, payable by cash, credit card, or certified funds. Any fees due to the Village must be paid prior to the sale of transfer stamps. If for any reason, the transaction is exempt, the original, signed, dated, and notarized deed, as well as the signed and notarized grantor/grantee statement, is required. There is a $15 processing fee for exempt transactions.
If you have any questions, please contact the Village of Park Forest Building Department at 708-503-7703.
Investment Property/Foreclosed Property
If a property is being purchased to use as a rental property, to be rehabbed and resold, or is a foreclosure, the inspection process will be assumed by the Buyer, when the property is turn-key ready for inspection. In lieu of the inspection, the Buyer must sign and have notarized the Village of Park Forest Buyer Letter prior to transfer stamps being sold. The property is to remain vacant until the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
Village ordinance requires the seller of property located within the Village Limits to purchase Transfer Stamps. These stamps are required for the seller to transfer the property to a new owner and are required for a new deed to be recorded.
Stamps are usually purchased by the seller the day before closing. The fee is based on $5 per $1,000 of the purchase price and is payable by cashier’s check, money order, certified check, credit card, or cash. Business or personal checks will not be accepted as payment for a Transfer Stamp.