This weekend I went to an open house that had a 2100 sq ft. house being listed for 850k. Yes, I live in Northridge, CA.
I noticed that the house had an add-on of 500 sq. ft. that they made it to a dining/living space. The realtor was quick to tell me that it was done "to code" but that it was done with no permits so not listed in the total square footage.
When I went outside, I noticed that the add-on outer wall was 3 feet from the property fence on the side of the home. I believe in California it's supposed to be 5 feet? I mentioned it to the realtor and she kind of brushed it off and started talking about the great upgrated kitchen worth 100k and other improvements to the house.
Is this something that should be reported to someone or as a nosy neighbor just going to an open house, I should not be concerned?
You're talking about "set backs" and those are covered by local zoning ordinances.
If it's not done with permits and the city catches you (which could happen based on a complaint, an inspection on another permit, etc) you will have to bring it into compliance. This would generally mean if you want to keep it you'd need an after the fact permit and all work would have to be brought into compliance with all current codes an inspected (this will mean opening things back up). It may also mean demolishing the addition if it cannot be approved.
It would depend on the zoning for those particular lots which you can find on the cities website. Most likely a 3' setback to the lot line is not ok and therefore not to code. Ask the realtor to put the "built to code" thing in writing and watch her back pedal in a hurry. Next put in your contract that a city inspector verify the addition is to code-your offer won't likely have any chance of being get accepted.
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