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How to Legalize Unpermitted Work

legalize unpermitted work

Chances are you bought a property and your scratching your head wondering if the work that was done is unpermitted. And if it is, how do you legalize unpermitted work?

Basically, unpermitted work is when a homeowner or contractor does something to a property that requires a permit from the city, county, or municipality. This could have been a large complex project or something minor. The size and scope of the project isn’t being questioned, it’s whether the job requires you to get a permit.

Generally, you will need a permit from the city if you construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, remove, improve, convert, or demolish a building or other type of structure.

Before you start working on your home if you think the project needs a permit, stop and contact your building department in your city. Let them know what the project is, and from there they will let you know if you need one.

If you are tackling a major project, chances are it will require a plan approval. Before you apply for a building permit, you may require approval from the Architectural Review Commission or the planning commission in your area. Always check with your city before you get started.

This is a very crucial step because it can save you from getting fined, tearing down the project, or even worse getting sued by someone.

Why do you need a permit?

  • You need a building permit because it is the law
  • Permits protect the owner/occupants, structure and your finances against poorly done work
  • Unpermitted work may not be covered by insurance
  • When selling the property, the lender, city or buyer may require the unpermitted work be properly permitted
  • You could face fines and a civil suit
  • Ensures that the work is done sagely and meets the minimum code requirements

Documents needed for a permit

Regulations are set by your local government. Therefore, the information you need will vary by city. Generally, you will need some basic information about the property and what your plans are.

The requirements may include:

  • Contractors, architects, or engineers information working on the project
  • The address of the property
  • Purpose of the project
  • Scope of work
  • Valuation of the construction

Steps to legalize unpermitted work

When legalizing unpermitted work, a property owner has two options:

  1. You can restore the building to its original design, which may include tearing down an existing structure.
  2. Begin the process of legalizing the unpermitted work with help and direction from city staff.

Step 1. Visit your local permit center to see if your alteration, addition, construction or repair requires a permit. Find out if it is allowed within existing land use, building and fire codes. Since you are trying to fix a problem you were not the cause off. You will find that city staff is willing to help you get your property up to code.

Step 2. Provide plans for the work to be completed and permit application.

Step 3. The plan review will be performed by the city staff after the permit documents are approved and fees are paid.

Step 4. Schedule inspections during the duration of the project to ensure that building standards are being met.

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