City inspection on a 1.5 year vacant property

3 Replies

I bought a home that flooded during harvey. The home has been vacant for just over a year. In talking with my contractor, who has been doing this for 30+ years, he is asking me not to involve the city as far as permits, when I suggested that want all necessary permits pulled prior to starting project. 

The property seems to have good structure, framing looks good, and it even has electricity. So I am torn here, should I follow his advice of getting your own inpection done and moving forward with the property or request that permits be pulled? 

The house had about 3 to 5 feet of wanter during harvey. Contractor believes the current condition of the property doesn’t warrant me going through city for permits. 


@Samson Tefera

The need for permits depends entirely on the work being done and depends on the city jurisdiction. Some projects don't require permits. Other projects almost always require them. I would certainly hope your contractor is not suggesting that you complete work that would normally require a permit without a permit. This is a monumentally bad idea. Some pitfalls:

1) tenant gets hurt/killed in your property due to work that wasn't permitted. - You are screwed here and no amount of LLC/asset protection will prevent you from being personally named in a lawsuit.

2) Building burns down, cause determined to be fire caused by unpermitted electrical work. - Insurance does an investigation and decides not to pay for the damages.

3) You need to sell the place in a hurry for some reason. The buyer's lender reads your property listing which says "Freshly remodeled, all new interiors" and the bank's appraiser says "Show us all the permits for this work". (This happened to me on a listing I had)

4) You start remodeling and get caught by the city in the middle of your remodel. The city red tags your project, shuts you down, fines you, and then requires you to tear out and redo any work you were in the middle of where they can't see in the wall. This also delays you while they are deciding what to do with you.

Doing unpermitted work on your primary residence that you are going to live in is one thing. Trying to pull that sort of thing on mutlifamily investment property is a whole different risk.

I ALWAYS just go and talk with the planning department or building inspector about what I am planning to do and ask them what parts, if any, of the project needs a permit.  Do it by the rules, every time.

When a contractor does not want a permit pulled, I would be afraid that the contractor's quality of work is not acceptable and he/she fears having to meet the standards.  I'd run from that contractor!