In the past couple of months, two examples of improper permitting has caused problems and delays in closing sales of properties that I have inspected. One was because of open permits and one due to no permits. It is important for both buyers and sellers understand the issues that are raised with permitting.
In the first example I inspected, not pulling proper permits caused a delay in the closing. The rear roof covered patio was enclosed and permits were not issued. The sellers were not knowledgeable and trusted their contractor to do the right thing. There were obvious signs that the code was not being followed and permits were not taken out to properly enclose the patio. This caused considerable time delays to close the sale until the work was properly permitted and closed out.
In the second example, permits were issued for a pool built 20 years ago but were not closed out. A final inspection was never recorded. Now the seller is going through the tedious process to close out those permits. And of course the closing has been delayed.
When a permit is issued by the County or City Building Department it is required to have a formal finalization in accordance with the County or City guidelines. The final inspection ensures the work was performed properly and according to the code. The permit will remain open or even expire and this use remains until the permit has been formally closed.
It is very important to keep in mind that the open permit is attached to the property, even when a change of ownership occurs. Failing to discover these outstanding permit issues will now be the responsibility of the new owner and will have to deal with fines, fees, and other related costs to legalize the non-permitted or not finalized work.