HOMEOWNERS BEWARE: WORK WITHOUT PERMITS CAN COST YOU MILLIONS
YOU MAY HAVE TO REDO THE WORK
Leading Edge Homes, Inc. is currently working on a remodeling project in Palm Beach County where the homeowner hired someone to replace her doors and do other renovations. The work was done without a permit! As a result, the doors were installed incorrectly and subsequently leaked. All of the work had to be redone.
NOTE: If the homeowner filed an insurance claim for the damage, the insurance company could deny any claim because the work was not properly inspected or permitted. Then that could cost you even more!
OR IT MAY COST YOU MONEY — $1,000,000 IN FINES
A suburban West Palm Beach area couple had to write a check for $12,000 to settle a code enforcement lien with Palm Beach County.
But it could be worse: They were looking at paying about $1 million in the dispute, which has dragged on for 17 years.
According to county commision staff memo, Matthew and Patricia Beasley had replaced windows and remodeled without obtaining the required building permits, inspections and “certificate of completion” at their home near Forest Hill Boulevard and Congress Avenue.”
IS IT WORTH THE RISK OF GETTING CAUGHT?
The Beasleys threw away $12,000 for a permit that probably cost less than $1,000 dollars 17 years ago.
If you are caught having work done without a permit, you can face additional fines like the Beasleys, pay double for your remodeling project (if the code-enforcement department in your municipality requires you to tear down the completed work), and/or find it impossible to sell your home in the future.
There are many documented cases of problems with getting caught. You make think “Permits are [a] Big Pain in the Neck” but if you don’t comply, you may pay the price later.
Work that was done without a permit may be discovered at the time of the sale of your home. A home inspector may check to see what permits have been issued for a property and verify that only those “permitted” changes have been made to a home. If a home inspector finds work done without a permit, he may advise the buyer not to purchase the home and report it to the local building department. There have been many cases where sales have fallen through – all in the name of saving money.
DO I HAVE TO PULL A PERMIT?
I am often asked, “Do you have to pull a permit?” My answer is YES if a permit is required for that particular type of job.
YES … I believe that it is for your safety.
YES … It may cost a little more money and time, but the potential problems for doing work without one is not worth any minimal cost savings.
YES … I do pull permits. A contractor who says it not necessary may have something to hide, and that could be a red flag.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
Trying to cheat the system can cost you in the long run!
Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice. I recommend that, if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract or the suitability of the home you wish to purchase, you discuss them with a real estate attorney.
If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.
Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.
For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.
Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.