Having Work Done In Your House? You May Need a Permit For That
If you’re doing any fixing, renovating or remodeling, your friendly local government wants to know what’s on the agenda because they may need to issue a permit for the work and then charge you to have it inspected.
According to Michael Darcy, the executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, any major work that involves a structural change will always require one or more permits and inspections. But that may not be the case if there’s minor work or repairs done.
“A permit would not be needed for ordinary repairs, the kind of things that maybe a homeowner does on the weekend, painting, fixing a door," he said.
“If you’re just doing wallpaper and painting, if you’re putting in a cabinet or you’re replacing your kitchen faucet, you wouldn’t need to get that inspected."
Darcy explained minor work would usually require an inspection but you don’t have to get a permit in order for you to begin doing the work.
“Minor work might involve swapping out your heaters or something like that.”
He pointed out if you’re knocking down a wall or moving it, getting a permit and having it inspected is very important.
“That’s because if you’re moving a wall it could create a structural problem where that wall was holding up the room above it,” he said.
He emphasized you always want to get your project checked if there’s some kind of potential health or safety issue involved, even though it might not seem like it.
“If it’s your roof you might think you’ve just got to put some new shingles on your roof, what’s the big deal? But if you have to do more than a certain amount of roofing it becomes regular permit work that you’ve got to get inspected,” said Darcy.
He said most cabinet installations probably do not require a permit, “but once you get electrical or plumbing involved, then you have to start asking: Is this changing anything in the building that’s going to be a safety issue?"
Darcy explained there are certain state guidelines that inspectors in all towns rely on.
“They have these big fat code books that they follow. And those code books change from time to time. From my experience, contractors have trouble keeping up with the changes,” he said.
He stressed if you don’t get permits and inspections that are required, if you ever try to sell your home you’re going to have a big problem.
“If the home inspection doesn’t match up with what they have on the tax assessment for the house, then at that point they’ll stop and hold up the sale of the house until they can figure out whether there were licensed people doing that work or what the situation is,” said Darcy.
“I wouldn’t want to be the seller who had to knock my price down because my house didn’t meet all the permits.”