What Risks Do You Face When You Don’t Get a Permit?

Make sure you have those permits

Last week we talked about permits, the type of projects you need them for, and why they’re important. If you missed the article, check out our blog post titled, “What you need to know about building permits” at www.WeSellLeduc.com

Today we want to share what complications can arise when you don’t get permits in place before starting your building or renovation project. Often when we list a property, we discover the seller did not get a permit for their deck, shed, some of their basement development or other building projects. Without these permits in place, there is no guarantee that the work was completed according to building codes and safety guidelines.

Obtaining permits is the law. Without them, you risk being held liable if anything was to happen to an occupant in the home. After speaking with the planning and development department with the City, we learned that one could receive up to 6 months jail time and $150,000 fine if they don’t have proper permits in place and a serious injury or death occurred that could’ve been avoided. Suddenly the extra $50-200 charge you thought was unnecessary for a permit just became a wise investment.

Whether you plan to stay in your home long term or sell in the near future, it’s your responsibility as the homeowner to ensure permits are in place. Maybe you bought your property years ago before permits were strictly enforced and are thinking of selling. If so, find out if there are any missing permits before listing your property for sale.

If permits are missing, and you’ve accepted an offer on your home, it could mean major costs down the road. For example, let’s say you built a 2-tiered deck with a built-in hot tub, along with a garden shed. You want to sell, but don’t have any permits for the work you completed. If the electrical work for the hot tub wasn’t done correctly the first time, it will have to be redone.

We’ve seen problems with decks being built too big for the amount of pilings, which can result in a rebuild. Or maybe your shed doesn’t comply with the right distance from a neighboring property and now it has to be moved. This could mean renting pricey machines to move it, or having the shed torn down and rebuilt. These are time intense and costly projects that could’ve been avoided had you got a permit and follow up inspection in place from the beginning.

Without permits in place, the city will not issue compliance with your real property report (RPR). A real property report determines that the house and all additional buildings or structures comply with city codes and guidelines. Many buyers will not move forward with the purchase of a home without a current RPR as the risk is too much for them to take on, especially when there are unknowns.

Let’s say you have an accepted offer on your property but still need to finalize permits. This could lead to further complications at time of closing such as lawyers holding back money until the permits are in place. It could also delay closing, if the buyer’s lawyer suggests waiting until permits are finalized. Although less likely, it’s even possible the buyers may not close at all and your sale falls through.

The risks overall are too great to not take this viable step. Apply for your permits by contacting the City of Leduc at 780-980-7124 or going to www.leduc.ca for an online application.

If you or anyone you know has considered buying or selling a home, give us a call. It’d be our highest honour to serve you!

Jason Rustand with RE/MAX Real Estate serves with the highest level of integrity and excellence every time. For more info on this topic or others related to real estate, LIKE our Jason Rustand Team Facebook page, call us direct at 780-980-2828, email jrteam@shaw.ca or visit WeSellLeduc.com