I know “terrify” is a strong word, but unpermitted work is a really big deal. Not only can it mean big safety concerns and big costs–but you may also run into the issue of building code violations.
Ever heard of building code violations? After more than a year as a property analyst, I’ve come by them more times than I could count.
Most people have little-to-no understanding of what a building code violation is until it becomes a problem for them. People hear the words “code violation” and automatically think it has something to do with unmowed grass, or dead branches, but a building code violation is actually the result of a permit issue.
Building code violations are often reported only in permit searches. When a building code violation is active on your property it means either (1) the permit was not properly completed, or (2) a permit was never opened for the work done in the first place–both of which can mean BIG problems.
Here are some examples of building code violations resulting from work with no permit should worry a new owner:
- Someone put up a fence without a permit — that’s a BUILDING CODE VIOLATION.
- Someone got a permit for a 4-ft fence, but installed a 5-ft fence —also a BUILDING CODE VIOLATION.
So, why should you care? Buyer, Title Agent, Realtor — whatever — building code violations can be problematic for closings because:
- Extra work needs to be done
- The property itself may not be safe
- Extra fees may be due
- That building code violation can also result in a lien (meaning even more $$$)
Building code violations aren’t inherently terrifying, but NOT knowing about those permit issues — that’s what is terrifying. Don’t fret, though. It’s easy enough to avoid that fright by just doing a permit search during the inspection period. 😉