Building permits

How do guys deal with building permits?

As in, do you offer to confirm that building permits have been pulled and closed as part of your inspection service or as an additional service?

In Ontario lawyers and REA’s are not required to and typically do not.

Any thoughts on the downside of Inspectors offering this as an additional paid for service?

I’m not in Canada, but I don’t pull them up or research them.

In Chicago, they are all on-line, so checking things out is easy.

Will, do you check them for your clients?

Yep. And I print out a copy.

Around here, there are many “flippers” who gut rehab without any permits. Their justification is “It’s only illegal if they catch you”. Chicago, go figure.


It’s the Chicago way!

Same here.

It is common for new homes to be built with finished basements that the builder excluded the basement being finished.
In the city here permits are on-line as well but hard to find if you do not know were to look.
It took me a good hour the first time to find the right spot. Now it only takes me 30 seconds. I have some of the most experienced realtors and lawyers who think they have to go to city hall and waste half a day to get the info. I wonder if I should charge for the service or just include it as value and marketing tool.

Around here, there are many “flippers” who gut rehab without any permits. Their justification is “It’s only illegal if they catch you”. Chicago, go figure.


It’s the Chicago way!

Do they want to burn down Chicago…again?

They have migrated to Florida as well!
Yes, I do permit research and it is included as part of my service.

I check permits so I know how old the roof is, among other things. :slight_smile:

If you feel the work has been done incorrectly then Put it in your report .
No idea if permits where gotten for work done ,.
I do not think you can get this information in Ontario.

With all the flipper houses and foreclosures that are now hitting the market, permitting becomes more important than ever.

A house I am going to inspect Tuesday was a foreclosure…
On the listing it states the dreaded phrase, “freshly remodeled”. I conducted a permit search and the only permit was for the roof in 2005.

Going in, I know there will be problems. I also know that this will more than likely be a “lipstick on a pig” house. So, I charge accordingly.
I don’t really want to do this inspection, but if I do, it will be worth my while.

These are the type of homes I usually price myself out of.

And when was the last time you saw a cow in Chicago? :roll:

If I inspect a home that has obvious changes and it is in certain jurisdiction with online permits, I look. Sometimes it is for my own information, sometimes for the client. Had one yesterday. No permit sticker on the generator panel and no permit online. Due to the potential liability, the client is informed.

When I used to work for a mortgage company doing fraud research, I loved it when the subject property was in Chicago, because yes, they have everything online and made it easy to find.

Most other places, not so much.

“Permits”… We don’t need no stinkin’ permits.:mrgreen:

Was it level Shawn?

Not from a real inspection. Internet pic, just trying to bring in a little humor:D

I noticed the level on the tank.

Have you seen this guy?


You should have the following in the contract/agreement that your client signs

“This is not a Building Code, title, nor By -law compliance inspection and is not to be construed as such.”

If something is clearly wrong and would never have been passed by even a blind building inspector, I advise the clients to check on a permit. The owner is responsible for permits regardless of when they assume ownership.

Every city, town and county will have their own by laws for permits and when you do or do not need one, they may have modified codes, and their own privacy policy about who they release permit information to, for example, Edmonton will release information to anyone who asks, but next door suburbs Sherwood Park and St Albert require the owners permission to release permit information.

Chances are you work in several counties towns and cities, are you willing to keep up with all their differences?

Checking permits is vital, at least here in Florida. Without a permit, how would we know if a window was impact rated. Just because it has a sticker does not mean it is. I just had a 4 million dollar home where they had all of the permits and there were stickers on the window frames. Only problem was the installed glass was not impact rated. This was a custom built home. About a half a million dollars in windows and doors need to be replaced.

I typically recommend all home owners get copies of permits pulled, and anything else associated with their property because it can be very useful to cuss out bootleg VS permitted construction. CofOs especially.

On the otherhand, I know this can be opening up a can of worms. In Los Angeles, record keeping was pretty shoddy in the past and most homes here have some bootleg work if not a ton of it. It can get rather complicated making heads or tails on some properties.

If I were to consider doing it, it would be a carefully crafted wording as to what the service is and is not to control expectations. People often think, if there is a permit then the work is good (of course not always), or If work is done without permits it must be bad (not always the case).