What can a homeowner do without a permit?
You might refer to these projects as “remodeling,” but you do not need a permit to:
- Hang wallpaper and paint (unless your community’s bylaws legislate it)
- Install carpet and flooring.
- Install countertops.
- Install trim (baseboards, crown molding) and paneling.
- Make minor electrical repairs.
- Make minor plumbing repairs.
How do you legalize unpermitted work?
How do permits work, and why do you need them?
- Reach out to your local building office right off the bat.
- Fill out the permit as completely as you can.
- Submit the permit and pay the filing fee.
Do you need permits to remodel a bathroom?
New additions to your house such as walls, doors, windows and even a fireplace, require a permit. Most electrical or plumbing renovations need a permit, such as bathroom remodels. If you plan to do an interior remodel and only change the visual elements of your bathroom, a permit is not required.
What home renovations require a permit?
Home Improvement and Renovations that Always Require a Permit
- Fencing installation and repair.
- Window installation.
- Plumbing work.
- Electrical work.
- Structural changes.
- Many HVAC maintenance projects (like installing a new water heater).
- Additions and remodeling projects (even including sheds and garages).
Can unpermitted work be grandfathered in?
Unpermitted construction is never grandfathered in regardless of how many years have passed. In some cases, if the inspector finds that, while unpermitted, the work does meet the relevant codes, the property owner may be able to get away with just applying for a permit and paying the fines (which may be significant).
Do Home Inspectors check for permits?
Most inspectors do not check permits, and with good reason: it sometimes opens a can of worms that annoys both the buyer and seller.
How common is unpermitted work?
You can still be penalized for the unpermitted work. It is not common, but from time to time city inspectors do come down on homeowners with unpermitted work. The difficulties could include being required to get the work permitted—which may consist of hiring an architect, making changes to meet codes, etc.