A plugged-in reader’s story and perspective on unpermitted work:
Well, I’m neither a buyer, seller, planner, architect, nor nimby, and have never filed a [Discretionary Review]. I’ve lived in my home for 30 years and have always followed the rule that my neighbor’s home is his business. But, that was not prudent as I discovered over the past several years with regards to my next door neighbor.
The first two owners, for the last 20 plus years lived in the home. The last, rented it out, but not before putting in an illegal unit downstairs. We later found out that his permit only covered “new windows.” But, instead, he put in a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom in the former basement of a single family home with the new unit having 6 foot ceilings, a couple of windows, and no vents for the illegal heater, stove, etc.
How did I know about that? Well, the last group of tenants in the main upstairs home, subleased that space to a couple of Hells Angels who ran a repair shop for stolen motorcycles in part of the garage space. They were arrested when an alert cop saw one of the stolen bikes in the driveway. Then, an alert permit officer at the local police station and some concerned neighbors, called the city planning department which sent an inspector and made the owner pay fines and pull out all the dangerous and illegal plumbing and electrical.
Now, the R-1 home is truly R-1, and the owner, has only been able to sporadically rent the property to other tenants over the past several years. As one contractor told me, after I pointed out that kids were living in the unsafe illegal unit, “I’m surprised no one died in this place”.
Now, not all work without permits is dangerous but all is illegal. I’m sorry that it’s a hassle to obey the law. Yeah, I like doing 90 on I-5 to L.A. too. But, if I get ticket, I don’t tell the cop that it’s inconvenient and a hassle to do 70.
And one more note, what happens if there was a fire and someone was hurt or killed? Do you think the homeowner’s insurance company, looking for anyway to diminish or eliminate its liability, would cite the lack of permits as a mitigating factor?
As always, food for thought and room for discussion and debate. Permitted room, of course…
∙ More Than Meets The Eye Permits At 674 15th Avenue [SocketSite]
∙ An Architect’s Nightmare And Discretionary Review Irony [SocketSite]