160A-375. (Repealed effective January 1, 2021) Penalties for transferring lots in unapproved subdivisions.

(a) If a city adopts an ordinance regulating the subdivision of land as authorized herein, any person who, being the owner or agent of the owner of any land located within the jurisdiction of that city, thereafter subdivides his land in violation of the ordinance or transfers or sells land by reference to, exhibition of, or any other use of a plat showing a subdivision of the land before the plat has been properly approved under such ordinance and recorded in the office of the appropriate register of deeds, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The description by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer or other document used in the process of selling or transferring land shall not exempt the transaction from this penalty. The city may bring an action for injunction of any illegal subdivision, transfer, conveyance, or sale of land, and the court shall, upon appropriate findings, issue an injunction and order requiring the offending party to comply with the subdivision ordinance. Building permits required pursuant to G.S. 160A-417 may be denied for lots that have been illegally subdivided. In addition to other remedies, a city may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent the unlawful subdivision of land, to restrain, correct, or abate the violation, or to prevent any illegal act or conduct.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not prohibit any owner or its agent from entering into contracts to sell or lease by reference to an approved preliminary plat for which a final plat has not yet been properly approved under the subdivision ordinance or recorded with the register of deeds, provided the contract does all of the following:

(1) Incorporates as an attachment a copy of the preliminary plat referenced in the contract and obligates the owner to deliver to the buyer a copy of the recorded plat prior to closing and conveyance.

(2) Plainly and conspicuously notifies the prospective buyer or lessee that a final subdivision plat has not been approved or recorded at the time of the contract, that no governmental body will incur any obligation to the prospective buyer or lessee with respect to the approval of the final subdivision plat, that changes between the preliminary and final plats are possible, and that the contract or lease may be terminated without breach by the buyer or lessee if the final recorded plat differs in any material respect from the preliminary plat.

(3) Provides that if the approved and recorded final plat does not differ in any material respect from the plat referred to in the contract, the buyer or lessee may not be required by the seller or lessor to close any earlier than five days after the delivery of a copy of the final recorded plat.

(4) Provides that if the approved and recorded final plat differs in any material respect from the preliminary plat referred to in the contract, the buyer or lessee may not be required by the seller or lessor to close any earlier than 15 days after the delivery of the final recorded plat, during which 15-day period the buyer or lessee may terminate the contract without breach or any further obligation and may receive a refund of all earnest money or prepaid purchase price.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not prohibit any owner or its agent from entering into contracts to sell or lease land by reference to an approved preliminary plat for which a final plat has not been properly approved under the subdivision ordinance or recorded with the register of deeds where the buyer or lessee is any person who has contracted to acquire or lease the land for the purpose of engaging in the business of construction of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings on the land, or for the purpose of resale or lease of the land to persons engaged in that kind of business, provided that no conveyance of that land may occur and no contract to lease it may become effective until after the final plat has been properly approved under the subdivision ordinance and recorded with the register of deeds. (1955, c. 1334, s. 1; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1977, c. 820, s. 2; 1993, c. 539, s. 1087; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2005-426, s. 3(a); 2019-111, s. 2.3.)