Legal Question in Construction Law in California

The house I purchased in 2003 had a workshop built in back yard by the previous owner. I don't think they were built with permits. If the city finds out about it what steps I have to take? If I were to sell the house do I have to bring it to code or disclosing it to the new buyers would be sufficient?

Thank you

Asked on 6/01/10, 7:45 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

For purposes of selling, disclosure is sufficient. Correction could become necessary at some point if an inspector orders compliance. You can ask your city or county permit office to provide a history of permit applications for your parcel and maybe dispel the mystery.

Also, certain small buildings don't require permits -- but I believe as soon as permanent wiring is installed, you become subject to permit, code and inspection ordinances..

Finally, remember that the codes are written based on long experience with disasters and how they could have been prevented, and are on the books for your and your neighbors' protection.

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Answered on 6/02/10, 9:14 am
Jonathan Reich De Castro, West, Chodorow, Glickfeld & Nass, Inc.

If you sell you must disclose the fact that you believe it was built without permits. If the City inspector comes knocking they will probably just ask you to bring it into compliance (with inspections) or tear it down.

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Answered on 6/02/10, 11:28 am

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