Problems Associated with Remodeling a Home Without a Permit
In defense of pulling permits for a remodeling job, if you don’t mind spending a few hundred more, it’s generally a good idea to get a permit. And here are some of the problems that could come back to haunt a homeowner who moves forward on a remodel without a permit:
- Non-permitted work might not be done correctly or to code.
Just because a homeowner hires a contractor doesn’t mean the contractor will do the job correctly. In addition, there is typically more than one way to do a job, and all three of those could be wrong.
- Homeowner’s insurance might not cover a defect for non-permitted remodeling.
If a remodel was done incorrectly and something happens, say a hot wire slips out of a wire nut and a fire breaks out. The damage caused by that fire might not be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy if the improvement was finished without a permit.
- City might require you to tear it out.
City code often requires that framing be inspected by the city prior to hanging drywall. To determine if studs were installed in a bathroom 16-inches on center, for example, a city inspector might make a homeowner tear out the walls. All the ceramic wall tiles would go with it.
- City might assess penalties.
If a permit seems expensive, wait until you get a bill for the fines and penalties for failure to obtain a permit. The job permit could cost you triple or quadruple the amount of the original permit fee.
- A home appraiser might not include an addition in the square footage.
If the appraiser does not include the added square footage in the appraisal, the home will probably appraise for much less. This means a seller might be turned down for a refinance. A buyer might not be able to get a loan to buy the home.
Tip: The best way to protect yourself when buying a home is to verify with the city that permits have been issued, that the square footage matches the city records and to get a home inspection