[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Haverstraw 7-8-1974 as L.L. No. 3-1974 (Ch. 21 of the 1966 Code); amended in its entirety at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of the Town of Haverstraw, taking cognizance of the exposure to loss, because of a builder's financial failure, of contract deposits placed with a builder for the purchase of a home in the Town of Haverstraw, and further taking cognizance of the desire on the part of all responsible businessmen in the building and construction industry in the Town of Haverstraw to preserve their reputations from the adverse effect of possible losses of home-buyer deposits as above described, and taking notice that financially irresponsible building can lead to torn and damaged land tracts that are eyesores and may cause drainage problems from mud, may cause buildings to become vacant or remain in various stages of construction so as to constitute a danger and hazard to children and to be a source of fire and may prevent roads from being completed and cause dirt roads to exist in the town which may then become a town tax burden, hereby determines that the enactment of this chapter will contribute to the public welfare and safety, to the orderly development of the Town of Haverstraw and will reinforce public confidence in the financially responsible builders and contractors in the Town of Haverstraw.
When used in this chapter, the following terms, unless the context requires otherwise, shall have the following meanings:
- Occurs where title to the home is not transferred to the vendee because of the failure of the vendor to substantially perform those provisions of the agreement between the vendor and vendee wherein vendor undertook to build or construct a home for the vendee, or where the vendor becomes insolvent.
- Communication of an actual notice to the vendor of requests made therein.
- Any moneys given as down payment by the vendee to the vendor as required by the vendor prior to the commencement of the work to be performed pursuant to an agreement between the vendor and vendee wherein vendor undertook to build or construct a home for the vendee.
- A new one- or two-family dwelling intended to be used primarily as a residence
- The Town of Haverstraw.
- Any individual or individuals who have contracted with a vendor for construction of a home on land not owned at the time of such agreement by such individual or indiviuals.
- Any person, firm, corporation or association engaged in the business of erecting or constructing homes.
When a vendor undertakes to build or construct a home for a vendee and such vendee is required to pay a deposit to such vendor, the vendor shall post with the chief fiscal officer of the town wherein such home is to be erected or constructed a bond in the amount of such deposit or deposits. Such bond shall be posted within five business days after receipt of said deposit or deposits by the vendor and shall secure the payment of said deposit to the vendee upon the vendor's default. Such bond shall be in such form as required by the Town of Haverstraw.
In lieu of posting a bond as provided in this chapter, the vendor shall place the deposit or deposits paid to him by the vendee in an interest-bearing escrow account with a bank, as defined in the Banking Law, within five business days after receipt of such deposit or deposits. Such deposit or deposits, together with interest accumulated thereon, shall remain the property of the vendee, except as otherwise provided herein.
Upon transfer of title of the home to the vendee, the bond posted pursuant to this chapter shall be released, and any funds held in escrow pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, together with interest accumulated thereon, shall become the property of the vendor, unless otherwise agreed between the vendor and vendee.
Upon default by the vendor, the vendee may demand return of his deposit or deposits from the vendor. If the vendor has placed the deposit or deposits in an escrow account pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, he shall physically transfer the account to the vendee or pay the balance of said account to the vendee within 14 business days after the day on which the demand was made. If the vendor has posted a bond pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the vendee may initiate action for payment thereon if his deposit or deposits have not been paid to such vendee by the vendor within 14 business days after the day in which said demand was made.
Failure of the vendor to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter is a misapropriation of funds and action may be brought by the vendee against the vendor for the return of any moneys advanced. In addition, such vendor shall be liable for criminal action pursuant to the provisions of Subsection B of this section.
Failure of the vendor to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a misdemeanor.
Nothing in this chapter shall impair, limit or reduce the statutory, common-law or contractual duties or liability of any vendor in the construction of a home, nor shall these provisions apply to any local law or ordinance which requires the posting of public improvement bonds.
Any agreement entered into by a vendee which waives, limits or disclaims the rights or obligations set forth in this chapter shall be void as contrary to public policy.