I have a building in San Francisco where I had a licensed contractor did
some major work. A permit was pulled, contractor did the work, I was shown a
final inspection (so I thought) from this contractor so final payment was
released. Now many years gone by and now trying to sell the property, my
real estate agent requested a (CCR?) report and to my dismay the San
Francisco building department stated no final permit was issued for this
work. Permit expired long ago, now what?
Everyone's an expert here, including me so you're going to be advised to
do everything but blow up the building. Then again someone may suggest
that as well. But, it's really very simple what you need to do,
allthough the process may not be so simple.
First attempt to make contact with the contractor and regardless of
whether he tells you to pack sand or not, next thing is for you to go
the building department and tell them what's happened. They will no
doubt require you to take out another permit. Depending upon the scope
of the work that was performed as well as their inspection records for
the job they may have additional req's as well. They may or may not have
original drawings and specs.
You may end up suing the former contractor, you may not, but you have
to start at the building dept. Not in usenet.
I'm a building official and in a case like yours I'd probably come
out and do a final inspection. In the absence of gross violations,
I'd issue the final. I have better things to do than to piss off
citizens that are trying to do the right thing.
Oh, that's good advice: What YOU would do has nothing
to do with what the OP needs to do next. That's a
non-answer. If you're a "building official", what's
your title? Sounds like you were scrounging for a buzz
I'm also a "building official" but it's nothing to
do with the OPs area of questioning.
Too bad more people don't give your recommendation. A
little wordy, but still the best advice. Lots of times
people are looking for ways to get arond things and
that's dangerous and/or costly depending. From the
sound of it he's lucky that contractor actually pulled
What in the world are you asking here for?
Ask the real estate agent to research what to do. If they don't know, ask
their broker. Ask the building department. If that fails, contact a
lawyer. There are solutions for every problem.
You could only be asking for a very, very, very big problem asking advice
here instead of just the big problem you now have.
I am sure that this is not the first time that this has happened, and it
won't be the last. Find out what other people did in the same situation.
The advice you get here is free, and worth all you paid for it.
Professional advice that you pay for will at least have ethical guidelines
that you can lean on if it is erroneous.
What are you going to do here if you get bad advice?
That'll show 'em.
Now, get on it, and let us know what you find out.
I cannot think off a better place to ask than the newsgroups. So far I had
positive responses from someone in the building department and a registered
engineer from another group, thank you. Yes, the advice is free, but far
from worthless as long as you develop a selective filter. I would say that
much of the advice I've gotten through the years is as good or better than
the advice I'd paid for including my $400/hour lawyer, $150/hour mechanic,
$250/hour CPA, etc.
Flame them for bad advice? I have a condo conversion, an in-law addition and
a remodel to do in three different cities. Sorry, no time. (And often times
the bad advice is not intentional.)
Newsgroups are great! I just fix my chain saw the other day with some free
advice that my mechanic couldn't fix in ver 18 months under warranty. I
learn how to weld better, fix my cars, fix my properties, invest better,
etc. - all in all, save me thousands of dollars and unnecessary frustration.
So many good people here and much appreciated!
I agree 100%. I often use newsgroups, but when I really want advice I can
take to the bank, I consult a professional. And sometimes the direct
approach is best. Simply going to the people involved and asking what it
will take to fix it is the shortest route. There are all sorts of gyrations
here every day on this question and that. And some very bad advice given
and taken. And all that was really needed was to just go directly to the
YMM(and probably does)V
===> Well, that's what you perceive, anyway, but that
doesn't make it so. There are certainly better and
more reliable places to get answers from. That said,
what newsgroups ARE good for, with something as
important as you claim to have, are CONFIRMATION and
CONCENSUS. It could help you catch a con at work, or
to separate some fact from fiction down the road, and
often even arm you with enough information to decide
what questions to ask of the people in power. But to
say that you can think of no better place; well, you
need to think a little harder IMO.
You sound enticingly niave, so be careful.
Yes, the advice is free, but far
===> Woof! No wonder you take advice from a newsgroup
as the last word on something! You've no problems with
paying the extra bucks and probably don't even know it
when you do. I'm not trying to sound offensive,
honest, but brutally honest with my opinion. In other
words, you're sure not driving an old Monte Carlo to
the local courts to pay a speeding ticket which you
want to account for on your taxes.
===> This last doesn't seem to follow with the rest of
your post; you may have learned by wathycing or
something similar, but can you DO? And perhaps that
$150/hr mechanic needs to be replaced. Either that or
you need to realize that even the best "expert" can
miss things at times.
While the world isn't all zeroes and cone, you seem
to make a case for enjoying both but claim to be only
one? Dunno - interesting verbiage.
Just be careful.
You took this too literary. Can't be too naive or not careful enough being a
landlord in hostile rent control San Francisco.
I did say selective filter. What's wrong with newsgroups ones you filter out
and discard the bad information? Many people in newsgroups are pros just as
good as my lawyer, mechanic and CPA but that doesn't mean I don't use or pay
for professional services.
Sure you could, perhaps not for everyone. I've rebuilt my automatic
transmission with help from a factory manual - what so special about that,
people do this kind of things all the time. Then this guy on the web
building his house from the ground up (mostly him, his wife and their dog)
block by block - impressive! Didn't Andrew Grove (Intel Corporation) did
research on the web for finding a cure for his cancer? Now free advice from
this guy is priceless.
And perhaps that
Ask the real estate agent why he wants it. Then assuming he really does
see a problem, then go to the city and ask them how to resolve the problem.
They are the ones with the final say about giving you one.
Check to see if the contractor is still licensed. He had to put up a bond.
You may be able to get him into big trouble if he cannot resolve your
problem. Unfortunately he is probably gone.
Also, even if he is working under a different corporate name, in most states
the licenses are personal and you can still get him.
Sometimes cities do lose records of inspections and approvals -- do
you still have your copies of the inspection checklist and permit
paperwork? Go through your copies and see if you can find a final
inspection and approval.
(My advice, never throw those away -- I've run into houses that have
been standing for decades, building officials said they had no
records of permits, but the homeowner still had their copy of the
final so the county said "Oops, sorry for bothering you.")
If you can't find anything, then your best bet is to take all the
permit paperwork you do have, meet with your local building official,
and explain the situation. Only your local official will know how
the local bureaucracy deals with this sort of situation.
On the bright side, this is a very common situation, so any
reasonably large city will have a process in place, you won't be
reinventing the wheel.
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
Don't fix what ain't broke.
Change your real estate agent if he can't get you out of this.
At the very least, change your listing contract to acknowledge the
problem and sell the property 'subject to' the problem. You have a
duty to disclose, so disclose. But only disclose. Don't fix what
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