stop work order

6 Replies

I just got my second duplex in fort wayne Indiana  where the seller is financing the deal. I also own a sfh right next door to the duplex, and so out of convenience put a 30 yard roll off container in between the the two houses. Both places had a LOT of debris and junk inside of them that went into the dumpster. Apparently one of the neighbors had an issue with the dumpster being where it was for a few weeks and called neighborhood code who then came by and put a stop work order on the duplex only. I called and spoke with the inspector who told me that because of the kind of debris he saw inside the dumpster, id have to schedule a time for him to come by and do a walk through inspection of the duplex before he would remove the stop work order. My question is, do i have to let him do this simply for the fact that there was a dumpster in my yards that someone complained about? I do a lot of the work on these properties myself (minus electric, gas,etc) and I'm nervous about him coming in and dinging me for anything and everything that might b exposed right now inside. Any advice would be greatly appreciated 

The short answer is: You must allow him to inspect, and you must comply with anything he tells you to do.

Be polite, plead ignorance, go get your permits, and move on.

It doesn't matter who is doing the work: yourself or someone else.  Building permits are still required and letting him inspect is not optional.

Oh, man...

I've posted about this before here: http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/67/topics/1756...

You have to let them do whatever they want to do. Just pretend you live in North Korea and the inspector is Kim Jung Un. 

He's gonna be looking at what you're doing and determining whether or not you need a permit. In my area, if you're messing with anything structural, roofing, windows, exterior doors, fencing, electrical, plumbing, etc. you need a permit. 

Now if you're just cleaning up junk and not tearing apart the house, he's most likely not gonna make you get a permit. Sounds like he saw what looked like construction debris and assumed you were doing work on the house. Or maybe you were doing work on the house. Either way, act dumb, plead ignorance, and go through his process. It's too late to get away with anything now.

Good luck man!

thanks everyone, looks like I'll just b doing the right thing and pulling the permits that he requests

Here's my story of a rehabber who got caught with unpermitted work:  Don't mess with building inspectors. Yes, they have the right to demand an inspection.

Your ability to pull permits and do the work yourself may be limited by your use of the property.  Around here, a homeowner can pull permits and do any work, including electrical and plumbing, on a house the occupy.  But not any other house.  So, for fix and flips or rentals you need a licensed GC to pull permits.  Or, for smaller projects, the subcontractor can pull permits (e.g., water heater or furnace replacement.)

Yes, as soon as you touch stuff its your problem.  The house in my link had work that had been done who knows when.  But because there were no permits on file that would cover that work, we had to dig up the finished basement to expose plumbing.

If you're a serious fix and flipper and doing work yourself, you should bite the bullet and get a GC license.  There are schools to train you for the test and its open book (at least around here.)  You'll still have to hire licensed subs for the required trades (typically HVAC, electrical and plumbing), but you can pull permits yourself.  Work with the building department if you want to minimize hassles.  Now that you're on their radar, they can make your life difficult.

Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC