Is it necessary any permit for a bathroom remodel and painting?

6 Replies

Hi everyone, I am make plans for a small rehab in MD. I would like to know if I have to apply for a permit to remodel a complete bathroom, throw down a wall and paint the whole house. Thanks in advance for any information.

Many investors will avoid the permitting process because it costs money and time (time is money, especially with expensive holding costs). My advice is to go ahead and get the permit. If you sell the house and the buyer sees work has been done they will look up permits. If there are no permits on the bathroom remodel, how can the buyer know the pipes aren't leaking behind the walls? It's always best to just go ahead and get the permit. Can't put a price on doing the right thing.

I would highly recommend you to pull permits on this larger change as this especially if you want to resell now or in the future. The buyer can look into the records and see that the city did not pass inspections on it and you run into the risk of them driving by and seeing that you've made these renovations without their consent. 

Originally posted by @Pablo P. :

Hi everyone, I am make plans for a small rehab in MD. I would like to know if I have to apply for a permit to remodel a complete bathroom, throw down a wall and paint the whole house. Thanks in advance for any information.

 Most likely yes for some of the bathroom work or the wall. Contact the city where the property is located and ask them. Code like this is very city specific. In my parents city if you remove sheetrock, even just to replace the existing wall, it requires a permit. After you open the wall, inspectors can flag whatever they want. That is a GOOD thing because the entire purpose of permits and inspection is to ensure the job is done correctly and up to code. It is good for you while you live there and good when you resell.

@Pablo P. , as Joe mentions, it seems most municipalities require permits for most anything.  Painting, no.  Pulling down a wall, yes.  In Cincinnati (my market) technically a permit is required to change a light fixture or faucet, and needs to be pulled by a licensed plumber/electrician, and work performed by same.

As noted, most people don't, depending on the scope of work.  And, if this is a renovation to sell, a smart buyer might look for closed permits, but many don't.  And in this market, where many buyers are desperate to buy any house, it likely won't be an issue, but there is a risk.

I am an avid believer in pulling permits.  They cost money, but in my area, they don't slow down progress more than a couple days at most (thankfully my building inspectors are responsive and can typically inspect next business day).  And having them protects me and creates confidence in the workmanship when it is time to sell.

@Pablo P.

Speaking from past experience, most framing (walls), electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work require permits in most areas. With that said, having done permitted and non permitted work, you need to understand exactly what you are getting into before you start. I have done some jobs without permits, and it worked out fine, and I plan to keep the house forever so I have little concerns with it, any future issue if I made a mistake is my issue to correct. However, the absolute worst thing you can do, is start or complete work that requires a permit and get caught without a permit. Doing so will take you to the top of most building departments doodoo list, and will put a target on your back anytime you work in that area. They can make your life hell, by adding extra requirements, failing inspections for real or fake reasons, adding a ton of time and cost to your job. It is not worth it at all, plan ahead, budget for all the added cost and time it will take for permits and drawings, and inspections etc. If it needs a permit and there is any likelihood of getting yourself in trouble, just get the permit. Best of luck on your project!