Another Permit Issue

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Ok, I've done the homework, and I've looked through the *numerous* threads about permits, but didn't find this yet (but I get the distinct impression that I'm going to get a variety of answers).
Suppose we had a deck that a contractor originally built and, assumably, had permit for. Then, we refinished the deck ourselves a decade later out of necessity and we did not get a permit (ignorance). Now, we want to make additions to the house and want to rip down the deck completely.
Question: what's the probability that someone will discover that we did not get a permit for the replacement deck that's being ripped down? Also, before tearing down the deck, we may be selling the house to another family member. If the buyer doesn't insist upon seeing a permit, would the appraiser insist anyways? Or is a matter of if we want the deck to contribute to the value of the house or not?
Thanks in advance, again.
DJ
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It really depends on your neighbors. There are 2 kinds of inspectors. There are building inspectors who are generally overworked and don't really give a damn about anything that isn't on their daily work sheet (25-40 inspections a day here). The other type of inspector is generally called "code enforcement" and they only respond to "citizen" complaints. Those are the ones who hassle you about unpermitted activity and having your grass too tall. They are hired, based on complaints, and they are worked pretty hard too. If you get visited by code enforcement someone ratted you out. The 3d guy is the property appraiser but he doesn't care about permits either. He just wants to be sure your property taxes reflect all of your improvements. The property appraiser has a better set of measurements of my house than I do and I have lots of unpermitted improvements. Certainly YMMV in some jurisdictions but it is this way everywhere I have lived.
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If you rebuilt the deck you probably should have gotten another permit. Or you could just call it "maintainence" and forget about it. It's not like you need a building permit to replace a sash.

I would probably be neither here nor there, it's a moot point since the deck is coming down anyway. Do find out if you need a separate demolishion permit. It's probably not likely, since the permit application probably includes that detail and reads something like: "Removal of existing deck and construction of a 2 story 1250 sq. ft. addition on the South side of existing dwelling..."

The appraisers who work for mortgage companies won't be able to discern whether this particular deck is the one originally permitted for, or a replacement 10 years later.
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When you sell a property, typically what you get is a certificate of occupancy. The inspection will be to determine that the building conforms to the basic building requirements, principally in the area of health and safety. They check for smoke detectors, obviously leaking plumbing, missing handrails, etc. Nobody is going to care about how old the deck is or when it was replaced. Since you had a permit in the first place, you can claim it was only maintenance work done to it.
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On 1 Jul 2004 15:26:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net (Chet Hayes) wrote:

You don't get a certificate of occupancy when you sell. And building inspectors don't care if the plumbing leaks, as long as it's to code. You're mixing building department regulations with FHA mortgage requirements and home inspectors.
Jeff
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Part of the plumbing inspection is a pressure test
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On 02 Jul 2004 02:28:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

Wouldn't ever catch a leaking drain trap, or a faucet with a loose connection...
Jeff
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(Chet Hayes)

Perhaps you can tell us where you live where you don't need a CO when you sell a property. You most certainly need one here in NJ to sell a property. In fact, you even need one when you rent a property. And if a plumbing drain pipe is visibly leaking water and the inspector sees it, you won't get a CO. And what plumbing inspector would pass on a plumbing inspection that was "to codes" but leaking? Are you for real?
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@optonline.net says...

My own experience, relating to buying my house in Columbia, Howard County, MD, was as follows:
A "Letter of Compliance" was required by the Columbia folks. This had little to do with mechanical soundness of the property and everything to do with making sure the property conformed to the local covenants (no weird paint colors, no new structures not approved, no old cars up on blocks in the back yard). It's done as a drive-by.
On my own dime, I paid for a home inspection, with successful results being a condition of the sale. This was the only inspection that happened as part of the transfer of ownwership. And it only happened because I wanted it and was willing to pay for it.
I believe the CO process in MD is for new dwellings only.
YMMV
Marc
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The letter of compliance refers to complying to your deed restrictions. That is common in deed restricted communities like Columbia. If you were in unincorporated Howard County you would be able to skip this step.
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On 2 Jul 2004 05:36:45 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net (Chet Hayes) wrote:

Certificates of Occupancy are issued to dwellings when they become fit for occupation, usually at the completion of construction or a major remodel. I have never seen a CO issued simply for a sale of property, in any building jurisdiction, including New Jersey. Heck, if you couldn't sell property without a CO then any home under construction could never be sold. You need a CO to occupy property, you can buy and sell property at any time.
Plumbing inspections are done when plumbing is installed or major changes are made. Plumbing inspections aren't done for a sale of property either. In fact, I don't know of a building jurisdiction that does a residential inspection unless it is related to permit work. Plumbing inspections sign off on the work performed under the permit. If you have a dripping faucet in the kitchen, and you performed permitted work in the bathroom, no plumbing inspector will care about the leak in the faucet.
Jeff
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0 and if they did, who cares? It is gone.

It is not the appraiser's job to determine if work was permitted or not. They won't check. You will be lucky if they slow down as they drive past. Most valuation is based on comparable sales.
-Jack
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snipped-for-privacy@altmooosicrush.com (DJ) says...

Does your jurisdiction go by the IBC? If it does, not all decks require a permit. It depends on how high they are, among other things. If you are less than 2' off the ground and there is no cover over the deck, you can generally do anything you want.
Local jurisdictions may be more restrictive. Call your local building department and ask.
In any case, what is the big deal about a permit? If you go through a plan check, the building department should tell you if your plan is safe. The last thing you want is to have a deck collapse with 15 friends standing on it.
--
http://home.teleport.com/~larryc

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(DJ) says...

The potential big deal is that when the deck was replaced years ago, he did not get a permit. Since he had a permit for the original deck, it's likely he'll be ok as long as the deck has no obvious problems that would prevent getting a CO. For example, if it lacks railings of the proper height, etc., then he may have to fix those.
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On 2 Jul 2004 05:41:04 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net (Chet Hayes) wrote:

The remedies in most jurisdiction range from having to get the permit at a multiple of the original fee, usually four times the original, to having to remove the non-permitted work. Since the deck is going to be removed after the sale anyway, no remedy for the lack of permit, if any was required, would seriously hurt the original poster.
Jeff
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Larry Caldwell wrote:

This deck would require a permit being that the floor on the top level is 12' high. I've already checked the rules and regulations around here; the permit itself is not in question; it's if I'm going to get found out before I rip it down.

There is no big deal. Fact is, a decade ago, we weren't aware we needed permits. Now we're aware and wondering what the ramifications may be.
DJ
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snipped-for-privacy@altmooosicrush.com (DJ) says...

The statute of limitations has long since expired on the old work. There are no ramifications.
--
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DJ wrote:

why not just tear the deck down now and no one will be any of the wiser??
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snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com wrote:

Yeah, that's what we'd do worse case scenario. Just thought it would look funny to sell a house with an exterior door on the second floor with no deck going to ground level.
DJ
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If the door isn't permanently sealed, it's a life safety issue and would trigger a major event with your local building department. :)
Jeff
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