What happens when you decide to renovate your home without a permit

Winny

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
277
71
Renovating your home may need to happen from time to time, and each time you do, it's recommended that you file a permit for any bit of work you do. Of course not all home-owners want to go through the permitting process, as it can be costly, and maybe they feel they don't need to go through these steps in order to renovate. What happens if you decided to renovate your own home without first filing the required permits?

This article here -MSN - Discusses exactly that. No one wants to wait for delays and the processing time of permits, so they skip it and renovate on their own. Renovating your home without a permit, could backfire on you big time. Some of the issues you could face are:

1. Costly fines - If your city/state or town are able to figure out you did any form of renovation without first filing a permit, you will likely receive some fines in return. And don't forget, neighbors could easily report you.

2. Trouble selling house after - One big problem that stems from not obtaining said permits, is that you may end up having trouble selling your house. The reason why, is because before you can sell a house, you need to have an inspector come in and look things over. If they find that any work was done without a permit, they might decline or refuse to issue you your certificate of occupancy, which you will need.

3. Home owners insurance may be affected - If you happen to have any damage on the property that you need to claim on insurance, you may no longer be able to. If you never filed a permit, and made damages during your own renovation, Insurance likely wouldn't cover it. Now if you did obtain a permit and had damages after the fact, your homeowners insurance should be able to cover that. But unpermitted, your homeowners insurance might decline to cover said damage or any damage for that matter.

4. Risk damage to house and more - Tackling this all on your own, could in turn result in damages to your house. Most locations have permitting rules about doing renovations. It's best to just pay the permit fees and follow the rules, because who knows what could happen. You could end up causing water or even fire damage. It's essential to let the pros handle the work.

Those are what the article discusses. Do you agree? Are there other things we should know when it comes to renovating a house without first obtaining a permit?
 
Location
United States

Attachments

  • AdobeStock_742342478.jpeg
    AdobeStock_742342478.jpeg
    293.9 KB · Views: 95
If I ever make any repairs, it's usually small stuff around the house. Basically stuff that can easily be fixed. Nothing big, as I don't want to risk damage to my house, and also don't want to risk being fined or getting into trouble. If it's a big change or fix, I will go to my local permitting office and see about getting the required permits. I'm not taking the chance when it comes to my home. Better safe than sorry.
 
It can drastically affect your property's value, which in turn, has a knock-on effect with your whole neighborhood. I've been through it, unfortunately. One of my neighbors sloppily installed his own septic system without a permit and without having it inspected. It promptly failed and leached into our yard. The homeowner tried to cover up the smell by using harsh chemicals. Of course, these chemicals also leached into our yard and destroyed our landscaping. It took a while to get things back to normal. The incident lowered our property value for some time after that, and it caused bad neighbor relations for a long time.
 
It's great that MSN did an article on this. There's so much that can potentially go wrong with unpermitted renovation work and most people aren't aware of the full range of negative consequences. Out of the four consequences they listed, I'd say #3 ("homeowner's insurance may be affected") was the least readily apparent to me, but completely makes sense when you think about it. For insurance companies, it all comes down to negligence. If an insurance company can establish that you weren't making a good faith effort to prevent the damage from occurring (i.e., that you were being negligent), then they'll have no obligation to cover you. When it comes to unpermitted renovations, insurance companies consider your failure to secure permits to be a form a negligence and will deny coverage on those grounds. The bottom line for homeowners is that by forgoing permits on a given renovation, you're basically accepting that the renovated portion of your house will no longer meet the terms of your insurance policy (even though you're still technically paying for it in your insurance premiums).
 
It's great that MSN did an article on this. There's so much that can potentially go wrong with unpermitted renovation work and most people aren't aware of the full range of negative consequences. Out of the four consequences they listed, I'd say #3 ("homeowner's insurance may be affected") was the least readily apparent to me, but completely makes sense when you think about it. For insurance companies, it all comes down to negligence. If an insurance company can establish that you weren't making a good faith effort to prevent the damage from occurring (i.e., that you were being negligent), then they'll have no obligation to cover you. When it comes to unpermitted renovations, insurance companies consider your failure to secure permits to be a form a negligence and will deny coverage on those grounds. The bottom line for homeowners is that by forgoing permits on a given renovation, you're basically accepting that the renovated portion of your house will no longer meet the terms of your insurance policy (even though you're still technically paying for it in your insurance premiums).
Yeah Insurance is really serious about it. It's probably the first thing they look for when you make a claim to them. If they find any work done that was unpermitted, I imagine it could have an affect on other work you need done as well, including filing other permits for work to be done. Who knows if your insurance will trust you going forward. You will probably have to show proof for any permitted work.
 
Are there other things we should know when it comes to renovating a house without first obtaining a permit?
Great article; thanks for sharing! Another issue that might come up, is that it will be more difficult for emergency services to respond appropriately if they don't have a record of an addition or other structure that's been added to the property.
 
Renovating a home without a permit can lead to legal repercussions and financial setbacks. For instance, a friend of mine renovated his basement without a permit, only to face hefty fines and a mandate to demolish the work done. When he wanted to sell the property, it was a huge challenge due to the lack of proper documentation. When he tried to correct his mistake, his effort proved costly and time-consuming, emphasizing the importance of adhering to local regulations when renovating.
 
Back
Top