Risks of Remodeling Without a Permit
Most cities require that homeowners obtain a building permit
before making modifications to their residence. Which modifications
require a permit vary by city. Also, some cities are more
vigilant than others in enforcing permit laws.
In order for the homeowner to receive a permit, the homeowner
or his/her designee are required to file plans and pay fees
to the city. In addition, the improvements are given a value.
If they increase the value of the property, this may result
in an increase in property taxes. Inspections are often required,
and this means having to schedule and then wait for inspectors
to approve the work to be done. This process can be time consuming
and inconvenient in the short run. It is for this reason that
some homeowners skip the permit process.
If a permit is needed and you fail to get one, the city may
discover this at some time in the future and getting a permit
retroactively can frequently be significantly more expensive
and much more problematic than having obtained the permit
before work commenced. If work is not done in accordance with
city procedures or if the inspector is unable to determine
if the work has been done properly, the homeowner could be
required to open walls, tear up floors, so that the inspection
may take place. In addition, by law, work not permitted where
a permit was required must be disclosed to any prospective
purchaser. This may cause the owner to discount their sale
price or perform costly or time-consuming repairs before title
can be transferred.
For prospective buyers of a property, save yourself the future
hassle and loss of money by researching whether all work on
the premises has been done according to code and with the
proper permits. You may obtain these permits by going directly
to Building & Safety in the municipality in which the
property is located or by hiring a "permit puller"
who will research the permits for you.