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Permit Particulars
August 31st, 2011 9:06 AM

When  homeowners decide to remodel, they are often more focused on the actual project than on the legal requirements necessary to complete it. Homeowners who use licensed contractors for remodeling work typically do not have to get involved with permitting, which involves paperwork with the municipality, collecting fees, and being present for required inspections.  But when homeowners tackle do-it-yourself projects or use unlicensed contractors, they risk problems later.  The purpose of a permit is to offer assurance by a municipal building department that the work being done meets all safety codes for that particular area or city.  

Homeowners may be asked about permits in the process of selling a home.  At closing, they may have to disclose any remodeling work they did and verify permits.  A home inspector evaluating a property for a buyer may want to know whether a permit was obtained.   The buyer's appraiser may want to see permit records to check the legality of any home renovations.  If no permits are found and it's obvious the home has been renovated, the bank will likely refuse to make the loan to the buyer.  If the permitless work is not discovered until after closing, the home's value could be subject to a lawsuit.

If caught without a permit during a resale, owners may have to pay fines that would be up to 4 times the original permit cost, or may even have to tear down the project and start all over again.  Many people do not realize that a permit can be required for something as simple as installing a window or replacing a shower, not just for the major renovations of kitchens and baths.

No job is too small to inquire about needing a permit.  Always use a licensed contractor and be sure to check with a local municipality before beginning any home improvements.  This is certainly one time when it is better to be "safe than sorry."






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Posted by Barbara Doeringer on August 31st, 2011 9:06 AMPost a Comment

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