July 5, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Risks of Work Without a Permit:

“We plan to remodel our bathroom and save some time by not getting a permit from the city. Our contractor said he would do all the work according to code, but our neighbor warned us not to do it this way because it’s illegal. What are the risks involved?”

A local homeowner

Depending on the scope of work someone might wish to do, the city of Santa Monica requires that homeowners obtain a building permit before making various improvements to their property. Although I do not know many building code provisions, I am aware that they are extremely detailed and have heard that projects are often delayed for many days at a time while waiting for inspectors to come out and approve the work in process.

In order for homeowners to receive a permit, they or their representative must file plans and pay a fee to the city. The inspection process may be inconvenient as well as taking extra time, and those reasons are why many homeowners do remodeling without using the permit process. Others do such work with unlicensed contractors in an effort to avoid extra costs and time altogether.

There are some potential risks in doing non-permitted work. For example, if the city discovers this later, getting the work permitted can cost far more and involve challenges that would not have been involved if the permit had been obtained at the start. If the work was not done according to code or if the inspector cannot tell if the work was done properly, the homeowner may need to have walls or floors opened up to enable the inspection.

I recall one home being sold where an entire room was added without a permit. This was discovered during an escrow inspection, and it required several months to re-build with the correct type of electric wiring and proper spacing of studs in the walls. The seller tried to simply give a credit to the buyer, but the buyer’s insurance company noted that if a fire started in that part of the home the company would not pay for the losses. Thus, the seller had to absorb the costs of correcting the work, or risking losing the escrow.

In addition, by California law, a seller must disclose any non-permitted work to any prospective buyer. This could lead to some discount in sale price, require the seller to do costly and time-consuming repairs before the escrow closes or possibly cause an escrow to fall out. We sold one home where the seller had put up a low retaining wall without completing the permit process. The work was properly done and nearly all in accordance with building code provisions. However, the buyer was not willing to close escrow until a permit had properly been processed to completion. It cost the seller thousands of dollars and several weeks of delays to rush through all of the necessary steps.

As that seller sadly concluded, if he had known how much stress he and the buyer could have over this, he would have endured the city bureaucracy and added costs of time and money in the beginning. The far greater costs at the end were clearly not worth it. In the future he will be sure that any contractor does all their work under the permit process.

Michael Edlen provides real estate counseling services to prospective buyers and sellers and helps over 50 clients move each year. Most of his business is derived from a referral base of over 900 past clients. More tips and information are available on his website, www.MichaelEdlen.com. He can be reached at 310.230.7373 or Michael @MichaelEdlen.com.

in News
Related Posts

Landscaping 50 Percent Complete for George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon

July 3, 2022

July 3, 2022

Officials provide update for park under construction By Dolores Quintana A recent update from the City of Los Angeles’ Department...

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...