Permit for bonus room

5 Replies

I am looking to finish a room above a garage on my first rental. Flooring, drywall, insulation, electric, and HVAC will be needed. I am not making it a bedroom, just an extra room for an office or whatever the renter uses it for. The contractor says all items will be up to code. However the city the house is in, Birmingham, has a lengthy permit process, and the contractor says he has no interest in getting a permit. Should I be worried about this? He insists since I am not making it a bedroom I do not have to worry about egress. Sidenote the renter is paying half of the cost, to good not to pass up. Thanks!

First question does it make sense to spend all that money into a room that is not a bedroom  within the city limits of Birmingham?  All that upgrades for storage?

Second is if you have a problem with that room resulting in a lawsuit then I bet they look to see if the room was up to code, say like an a electrical fire. Cutting corners  can come back and bite you in the butt. Good luck JP

John, thanks for responding! For the first question, homes in the neighborhood are going for about 8-10k more with the finished room then not. With the cost being much less then that and it being in a young area where there are likely to be people working for home, I figured it made sense. 

Second, a little more back story, my father in law has worked with this contractor a few times over the years, he assures me all work will be to code and the work will be done right. The contractor obviously said the same.

I guess what Im getting at here is if the work is done to code, what could be the ramifications if the city finds out? A fine, or undo the work? And it there something I can put in the contract that says the rents know about this permit not being there and could not sue over it? 

I appreciate  your help!

Why would you not get it properly permitted. There is no logic in that if the property is worth anything at all. If you do not they can and probably will require you to remove everything back to the studs to inspect. Additionally without permits you will hit a wall if you try to sell some day.

Do not leave it to a lazy contractor, apply for the permits as the home owner.

Any contractor that advises not to apply for proper permits is unscrupulous and verging on criminal in nature. They avoid permits because ethey cut corners on construction and do not work to code. Find yourself a honest contractor.

Thomas, thank you for the insight. From what I am being told by the contractor he would be willing to do the permits if I lived in any other the surrounding cities, but not Birmingham. From what I am gathering here and what Ive heard from some other folks around town, I will not be moving forward without the permit. Thank you both for the help!

@Eric Gadus Those are all BS contractor talk. Get a permit, liability and risk isn’t worth without a permit, who will inspect it if not the city? do you know all the codes to inspect it? He is playing you. To get the permits is easy, or hire someone to do it for you, once plans are approved, shop around and blacklist that contractor if i were you.

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