I recently had a listing and the owners had renovated the home but had done so without permits. When I took the listing we had to complete the Property Disclosure Statement and one of the questions on the PDS is "Are you aware of any additions or alternations made without a required permit and final inspection; e.g., building, electrical, gas, etc.?" My clients answered "yes" on the PDS.
This only became an issue when we had to supply a copy of the PDS to a prospective buyer's mortgage broker as per their request by the lender.
Not having permits created a huge challenge for financing and could have been avoided if the sellers had obtained permits prior to renovations. It also affected the market value and could have been an issue with insurance. So do your due diligence when planning any future renovations or additions.
Here are a just a few tips on when you need a trade building permit:
- Moving interior walls and partitions
- Moving existing plumbing, electrical or gas lines
- Installing new plumbing, electrical or gas lines
- Making structural repairs, doing renovations, or building additions that are permitted outright by your zoning schedule
- Building an accessory (building, garage, carport, garden shed, etc.) that is permitted outright by your zoning schedule
There are various kinds of permits required for development such as installing a residential suite and you would need to do further research on what is required.
Here are some of the consequences that can arise when working without a permit:
- Work without permit penalty. This is typically double the original permit fee.
- A delay while your permit application is processed. All work must stop during this time. The original timeline and fees to process an application still apply.
- Possibly having to undo the work that was done.
- Possibly having to do more work than you originally planned and budgeted for, such as adding fire sprinklers or making seismic upgrades.
- Possible legal and/or financial issues down the road, such as impacts on selling your property or making an insurance claim.
For further information, please check with your City or District for relevant bylaws.