Skip to Main Content
Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

Why home buyers should be wary of unpermitted work

Spring is not far off, and as the temperature heats up, so does the state’s housing market. Residential home sales and new listings tend to tick upward starting in April, peaking throughout the summer months.

This can lead to home buyers feeling real pressure to act fast. But if they act too quickly, they could overlook a fairly common problem: unpermitted work.

How unpermitted work happens

When property owners make notable renovations or additions to their homes, they usually need a permit form a local authority. This is the city’s way of trying to ensure the work is done safely and follows building codes. However, obtaining a permit can seem inconvenient and lead to delays. It is not uncommon for homeowners to remodel without seeking the proper legal permits.

Fast forward a few years, and imagine this person is now selling the home.

Possible consequences of unpermitted work

A seller is supposed to disclose unpermitted work. If you buy a home that has had unpermitted work done to it, it can lead to headaches – and an expensive fix. For example, it may result in:

  • A local authority assessing fines and requiring you to fix it
  • You being required to remove the additional work
  • Insurance declining to cover an issue in that part of the house
  • A lower home value, since an appraiser may not include it in the square footage

Of course, there are also safety concerns. If the contractor did not adhere to building code, it could put you or your family at risk.

If you have questions about this or other real estate legal issues, contact an experienced real estate attorney.