California  |  Real Estate Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 7/05/13, 4:58 pm

I a interested in buying a house in California and the zoning is SER1* what does this mean. Also there is an unpermitted structure what are the issues?

2 Answers


Answered on: 7/05/13, 5:39 pm by Bryan Whipple

If the house is in South El Monte, I'd guess that it means" South El Monte single-family residential" but you should call City Hall or a local real estate company to confirm.

As for an unpermitted structure, the impact on a proposed purchaser can be highly variable, depending upon the following factors, and maybe others:

1. Is the unpermitted structure the main home, or a small shed?

2. Does the lack of permits apply to the whole structure, or only some improvements to it?

3. Does the structure more or less conform to code, or is it deviating in major ways?

4. Has there been, or will there be, an amnesty program for unpermitted buildings?

5. Is the structure a fire or other safety hazard?

6. How likely are the neighbors to complain?

7. Has there been a history of enforcement actions directed at the property or the building?

8. What is your lender's attitude toward it? Will it prevent getting a loan?

9. Does the price you're paying reflect the possible nuisance?


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Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law P O Box 318 Tomales, CA 94971-0318

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Answered on: 7/09/13, 12:23 pm by Anthony Roach

It can be a commercial zoning designation in Malibu. It depends on what county and city the property is in, and then you have to look at the zoning codes.

Lack of a permit can be a problem, but is sometimes correctable.


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Law Office of Anthony A. Roach 9909 Topanga Canyon, Ste.313 Chatsworth, CA 91311

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