Guest Blogger #665, Entry #1583, September 10, 2012
The average home renovation project may not require a homeowner to obtain any kind of building permits. But remodeling tends to indicate a project altogether more ambitious in scale than selecting new tile for the bathroom floor or new cabinets and counters for the kitchen. A remodeling project will likely require you to gut entire rooms and replace everything, or possibly even build new additions onto your home. And if this is the case you may very well need to obtain the correct permits from your city or county to ensure that you are operating within the parameters of approved building codes and that you have all of your legal ducks in a row. If you fail to get the permits required, you may not face immediate consequence, but there could certainly be serious issues down the line. Here are just a few reasons you should do your homework before you start tearing down walls and building or rebuilding your home.
Does your home need a permit for remodeling?
While you could be cited during the course of your building project if anyone happens to notice and the authorities make an appearance, this is fairly improbable (unless your neighbors run the local chapter of busybodies anonymous). It’s far more likely that your building project will reach culmination without incident, but that when you are forced to undergo inspection (say, when you try to sell your home), your lack of permits will be discovered or worse, it will turn out that your project has not been done to code. If this happens you could find yourself facing some major headache and expense.
Any time you face inspection with building plans that are different from those on file with the local register you may be called upon to produce permits. If you’re lucky, the project will have been done to code despite the lack of a permit, in which case you will probably only have to obtain the proper permits and pay the associated fines for failing to file the correct paperwork in the first place. Of course, the best case would be that the inspector doesn’t notice or care that you don’t have a permit, but you shouldn’t count on this by any means, especially if you have made some major changes to the structure of the home.
If, however, the remodeling was not done to code, the Code Enforcement Officers can throw the book at you and literally force you to undo whatever you changed by tearing it out (at your own expense). This is, of course, the worst-case scenario. At the very least, you will have to disclose any information about your remodeling projects to new buyers at the time of sale (whether you have permits or not) so that they are aware of the situation they’re entering.
And don’t think you can go back and sue the contractors, either. The onus is on the homeowner to obtain all necessary permits, from projects in home remodeling Los Angeles all the way to New York. So find out ahead of time which permits you’ll need for your project and then file them yourself. If you don’t want to bother you can roll the dice and hope you don’t get caught, but any inspector worth his salt will figure it out and then you’ll almost certainly end up paying more to get out of trouble.
For more Remodeling ideas on Stagetecture, click here.