Indiana Family Face Fines over Patio

Korner6

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2023
75
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I would be so mad if I was told by an inspector that everything is good to go and then to find out they were wrong. If you can't trust your city's inspector to do their job, are you allowed to sue?

On further reading, it appears that the homeowners might have misled the inspectors to believe that they were replacing what they had with something similar. But that's not what they did, and that's why a permit was actually needed because the plan had change drastically.

https://www.wthr.com/article/news/i...iana/531-dd5568d9-d708-4949-a063-08d249867ac4

City records show a neighbor contacted the city during construction, alleging the patio was being built without proper permits and was encroaching on his property.
“Next thing we know, we had an inspector show up,” Kim said. “Do we need any permits? Is there any violation? [The inspector] says ‘No, everything looks great. Keep going.’ So the builders kept going. We had three inspectors from the city come out and every one of them said, ‘You’re good to go.’”
 
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
I could say that this is a case of misinformation done by the first inspector that came around when the building was being done. However, when you take a look, you will also not blame the inspector because there is need to go to the agency office to ensure that you don't need a permit before you start building the patio. That a neighbor complained is enough evidence that they should be fined. Sad that such a error can occur and I lay the blame solely on the builders not asking clearly for patio permits when the neighbor talked about encroachment.
 
This sounds like a huge headache for the owners of the patio. On one hand they believed they were in the clear because their first inspector gave them the okay to keep at it. While on the other hand, they didn't do research and get the proper permits prior to getting the patio built. Either way, this proves that you should definitely do research before diving into a project such as this and obtain the proper permits so you don't get fined. When in doubt, a quick Google search can help!
 
This definitely sounds to me like the owners of the patio didn't look into what permissions they would need as thoroughly as they should have done and instead thought an inspector's word was more than enough of what they needed.

The fact they seem to have also misled the inspector tells me they were looking to possibly get away with building a whole new patio to cut corners and possibly even costs.

It definitely shows that you should always research to ensure everything is above board before you decide to start the work to ensure this does not happen.
 
Personally, if I were the home owners and there's a way for me to prove those inspectors gave me a go ahead, I will definitely be suing them for misinformation and the damages it's caused me. If you don't know how to do your job well, you ought to pay for whatever consequences your actions have caused. Although, someone might argue the home owners should have gone directly to the bodies involved to get first hand information but what's happened with them is so wrong.
 
There are always chances of human error, therefore, I believe people should not blindly believe one official, They also need to consult with other officials or the experts so that there won't be any confusion in the future. As @Heatman has said in his post, I don't think you should pay for someone else's mistakes, therefore, if you can prove it, you should definitely sue this inspector who approved it.
 
There are always chances of human error, therefore, I believe people should not blindly believe one official, They also need to consult with other officials or the experts so that there won't be any confusion in the future. As @Heatman has said in his post, I don't think you should pay for someone else's mistakes, therefore, if you can prove it, you should definitely sue this inspector who approved it.

The confusing thing in the whole situation was that it wasn't only one inspector that gave them a go ahead with their build which beg the question what went wrong? Why would the inspection teams say something that's different from what's in the law? It's either that the inspectors are not even aware of their own laws or they weren't informed when there was a change which I believe they should be updated.
 
For those still interested, I noticed this dispute was resolved a couple weeks ago. The homeowners had been fighting the City of Indianapolis over the legality of their unpermitted patio remodel for more than six years. The county superior court ruled against them last year and they were potentially going to be forced to tear out the patio and pay hundreds of dollars in fines. In the end, looks like the City went easy on them, only requiring that they pay a $2000 fine and make minor adjustments to the patio.

Glad to see everything got resolved relatively amicably but there's definitely a lesson here about not messing around when it comes to permitting an expensive remodel.
 
It is understandable for homeowners to feel frustrated if they were given the green light by city inspectors only to later discover that they needed a permit. However, upon further investigation, it seems that the homeowners may have misled the inspectors, leading to the misunderstanding. In cases like these, legal recourse may not be applicable.
 
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