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Can of worms...

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by LawOfMD, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. LawOfMD

    LawOfMD Registered User

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    ...is what I don’t want to open.

    I bought a house and put in a basement in-law suite without permits. It’s to code but the county is unaware of these improvements. (I studied the codes a lot and believe it is - who cares more for a house that is safe for my family than me? Never was a fan of “big brother” telling me what I can and can’t do on my property - I get it that the law is written for the lowest common denominator- ie morons out there building unsafe structures to save a buck - I get it. I’m sure to catch flack for this part on this forum but it is what it is.)

    Now I’m getting separated and my wife and I wish to live at separate addresses for a year to meet state requirements for divorce. I contacted the zoning dept and they said they can easily make the apt it’s own legal address so long as its “to code”. Poop.

    Here’s my question - and naturally I understand each county will be different - so I’m asking for more generic answers - will they likely try to make me literally rip everything out and start over or will they just look everything over and see if everything is up to code and sign off on it if it is. Will they make me tear down anything? Like drywall to see plumbing runs and electrical? Seems they would. What about plumbing channels we cut into the concrete?

    I’m afraid to open this can of worms.

    The other benefit to this is if we can get the apt signed off on, it improves the value of the property should divorce force a sale. As is I’m guessing we can’t really claim the improvements since they were done under the table.

    Scoldings aside I’m looking forward to any non-judgemental answers. Thank you in advance!
     
  2. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    Anything can be sold. Unpermitted means that the Tax Assessor may not be aware that it is there. Lower property taxes is a plus when selling but it'll take a cash buyer.
     
    LawOfMD likes this.
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome
     
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  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    It will be up to the building official/ inspector to ask what parts need eyes on.

    You should be able to do a lot of this without much destruction.

    Your problem may be certain codes you were not aware of, and those could be major issues.

    Is anyone living in it now ??

    About how long ago was the work done???


    Any pictures taken throughout the entire process??
     
  5. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    Any answers here will be subjective to our own biases. You need to meet with your local BO and get the answer directly from him/her.
     
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  6. LawOfMD

    LawOfMD Registered User

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    I appreciate your answer and get where you are coming from but don't even want to go down that road and find myself in a “tear it out and until you do we fine you x amount each day forever” situation - you know? Wanting to take steps forward not giant leaps back. That’s why I’m hoping to get people experienced in this to weigh in. See what my odds are as best I can. Etc.
     
  7. LawOfMD

    LawOfMD Registered User

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    Bought in 09. Renovations done from 09 to 11.

    Yes I took some pics of the plumbing when the walls were open. Are BO’s allowed to use owner supplied pics?

    Yes. We are living in the main part and have a tenant in the apartment. Her lease ends in March.
     
  8. LawOfMD

    LawOfMD Registered User

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    Excellent points. Thank you.
     
  9. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    without seeing it and doing Code research hard to give you good answers.

    Sometimes besides building codes, the city has other laws that could apply.

    Does the city require the basement to have its own address to rent it out????
     
  10. LawOfMD

    LawOfMD Registered User

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    Not that I’m aware of. We want it legally unique so it can be used to meet requirements for legal separation.
     
  11. chris kennedy

    chris kennedy Sawhorse

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    Who gets the basement?
    You or the wife?
     
  12. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    Call the Building Official and ask the question "hypothetically"; what would you make someone do in this situation?
     
  13. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Please restate

    can be used to meet requirements for legal separation???

    From the main house?

    Real estate wise?

    Civil action wise?
     
  14. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    I would think one of the major hurdles will be egress from the basement.
     
  15. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    If I was the inspector there I wouldn't make a big deal about it if nothing load bearing was done. Maybe take a couple of small pieces of drywall down to check the insulation on the exterior walls and pull the receptacles and switches out to check the wiring. Would need to prove traps and vents comply. Did you put in an escape window in the bedroom since you said you followed the code?
     
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  16. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Rip it all out for inspection if you want me or the Town to buy your liability......

    R109.1 Types of inspections. For on-site construction, from
    time to time the building official, upon notification from the
    permit holder or his agent, shall make or cause to be made
    any necessary inspections and shall either approve that portion
    of the construction as completed or shall notify the permit
    holder or his or her agent wherein the same fails to
    comply with this code.

    R109.1.2 Plumbing, mechanical, gas and electrical systems
    inspection. Rough inspection of plumbing, mechanical,
    gas and electrical systems shall be made prior to
    covering or concealment
    , before fixtures or appliances are
    set or installed, and prior to framing inspection.

    (Amd) R113.4 Violation penalties. Pursuant to section 29-254a of the Connecticut General
    Statutes, any person who violates any provision of this code shall be fined not less than two
    hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
     
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  17. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    Basement and Bedroom = Emergency and Escape Rescue Opening, so unless you have a walk-out basement, or took care of this issue, you will most certainly have problems.
    I know you are looking for opinions and you will get quite a few. The bottom line is that you chose to violate the law and do work that you think is to code and now you will have to deal with the consequences of your actions. If you try to sell the house, it is becoming more common for home inspectors to do a permit research.
     
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  18. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    Here if we can't prove it then you remove until we can. This many mean some small pieces of drywall depending on what is found. If any structural work that will need to be uncovered. As Rick18071 mentioned remove plugs ect. & panel cover to check elec. Plbg. can run a camera and see if it needs fixing or not. Egress will be a must, what ever that takes. As Usual the cost is on you for these.

    But every AHJ is different, still best to block your number and call BO and ask hypothetical as stated before.
     
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  19. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    What I am tying to help you understand is that you may have a BO that doesn't mind, or one that will make you rip it all out and then double fee you for good measure.

    What everyone answers on here is just simply that; its what they would do. But they are not your local BO, so until you speak with your local BO, none of this speculation holds any merit. Will probably lend to worsen your chances when you go in and say that such and such from the TBCF said you'd accept pictures or etc.
     
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  20. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    And failure to disclose could mean civil liability.

    If you know that it is illegal and don't declare, you can be responsible for the damages incurred by the buying party when they bring it up to code. Or even have to buy the home back plus damages.
     

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