Should I get permit to finish basement

Page 1 of 2  
I want to finish my basement....I'm putting up 2 walls and some electrical. I realize that by law I'm suppose to get a permit but lots of people are telling me not to even bother. It will increase my taxes substantially and that's about it. Someone was telling me that in Ottawa about 50% don't get permits to finish their basements.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

might cause hassles when its time to sell. definetely add ingress egress windows, a brite space with windows adds more value than a dungeon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

might cause hassles when its time to sell. definetely add ingress egress windows, a brite space with windows adds more value than a dungeon<
Depends on who you sell your house to - someone planning to take up kidnapping would prefer a windowless room.
We once viewed an extended bungalow in the UK where the owner had created a central bedroom (surrounded on all sides by other rooms) without a window - not even borrowed light from adjacent rooms.
We speculated quite a bit on the uses to which such a room could be put ;)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Permit or not, do things according to code for your own safety. Permits are a way of paying for the building inspector's salary. It may or may not change your taxes depending on how your town does things for re-evaluation. Where I live, they inspect every five years by an independent firm that does that sort of thing.
If you were to poll the people in the parking lot at the home improvement store, I'd bet very few would even know what a permit is, let alone get one.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This depends largely on rules and regulations in your local area. Where I work, as an electrical contractor, many people don't want that sort of job filed, generally for the tax reason. They do have to get it all legalized when they go to sell the house, but more often then not, they save a pile of money if they've lived in the house another ten years or so.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What's your tolerance for risk? There's two potential negatives: One is that your insurance company finds out about the work after the fact should you ever make a claim and denies paying out as the work was not permitted and contributed to the claim.
The other is that in most communities you are required by law to disclose any unpermitted work when you go to sell the house. Should you not disclose and the buyer discovers the work, they may choose to sue.

Says who? Assuming they are not load bearing walls, the only permit you would likely need is for the electrical. Partition walls in the basement are not going to change the value of your home in any significant way.

Which is immaterial to the question at hand...
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
since when does a finished basement not add to the value of the house???
steve

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steve Barker wrote:

There is finished, and there is typical DIY 'finished'. I looked at probably 50-75 houses before I bought this place, and most of the basement finishing was at best tolerable. For what I use a basement for, I would have paid extra for bare wall-to-wall concrete- instead I have this half-ass 1970-style mess. Walnut-stained cedar plank paneling on two walls, faux wall beams and stucco on the others and the doors, combined with a suspended ceiling and multi-color striped carpet with God-knows-what living in it. Furnace room had carpet and drop ceiling screwed to ductwork, and was finished out as a gun room/den. (I had to take a sawzall and demolish one closet, and rip out all the ceiling stuff, to make a road for the crew that replaced the furnace. Still need to scrape the carpet residue off floor.) Can't decide if it is worth hiring someone to rip it all out (my allergies and that carpet make the work a non-starter for me.), or just ignore it and let the next owner deal with it.
But as to getting a permit or not- depends on the area. Around here, I wouldn't bother, since there is essentially no governmental inspection. However, I grew up in the construction business, so anything I put in would be code or better. And I always have plausible deniability, being a short-term owner. ('damned if I know- it was like that when I bought it...') Now if I lived in a more anal area, like much of New England, I'd probably jump through all the hoops for self-protection.
aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The OP didn't say he was doing a finished basement, he said he wanted to put up two walls with electrical. Assuming he did pull an electrical permit, all an inspector is going to see are studs and wires. What he does after that is his own business.
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The only problem I see, either way, is if they decide these are "bedrooms". Then a lot of code issues and perhaps even tax issues kick in. If these are clearly just partitions in a recreation room I don't see a problem either way. The $50-100 to get an inspector to look at this is probably worth the money. They are usually pretty easy going on "owner-builders". The person who will "catch" you will be a home inspector when you sell, now that permit records are available online.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The OP said and i quote, "I want to finish my basement".
s
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yep, you are correct - my mistake. Still, any permit in that case would only be for electrical and any electrical inspection won't reveal the end state of the basement. Bedrooms have a pretty strict legal definition and it's unlikely a retrofit basement will meet those requirements, so you won't see much change in the assessed value of the house.
It's one of those things like a built in pool, that if it's done properly, could make the house sell faster, or if done poorly, sell slower, but not drive a big price change.
-- "Tell me what I should do, Annie." "Stay. Here. Forever." - Life On Mars
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
there's no way i'd get one for that purpose. You'll only run into a bunch of bs you don't really want (or need) to do, and drive your taxes up.
s

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
car crash wrote:

Break the law or abide by the law? You want us to tell you what to do? Your choice.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
car crash wrote:

Where I live they changed the rules a few years back. Inside an existing home they don't care what you do, but if you make a change that effects the outside and in excess of $1,500 a permit is needed.
If it is required then you probably should.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
shebaaa wrote:

I live in condo-land, where any plumbing or electrical needs a permit. Single family home owners need permits but can do work themselves unless the home will be rented within a year. Guess they want to give homeowners freedom to kill themselves but not prospective tenants. From what I have seen DIYers do, it makes good sense.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Heres ANOTHER WAY to look at it:(
Home had water problem hired execvator to do work without permit didnt want hassles.
excevator contractor did horrible job, I was ripped off, he effectvely stole my money by not doing it right, put drain line on top of footer rather than below, caused contiuning water troubles, I had to have much of what he did redone, and didnt find out about line location till later.......
then had interior french drain installed.. more money.
all preventable if jerk had been inspected.
its a hassle but just the fact their work is being inspected you get a better job
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 13:34:06 -0800 (PST), car crash

I haven't lived or worked in Ottawa for twenty years ... but I believe your local codes and practices are similar to those here in Calgary.
1) If you are required to get one, then why not? Unlike some U.S. jurisdictions, the fees are low -- a hundred dollars or so for most -- and the red tape is minimal. The inspectors tend to be helpful rather than bureaucratic.
2) The notion that your taxes will increase sharply does not fit with my experience. I do a couple of basements a month -- the increase in taxes averages five to ten bucks a month.
3) There is some truth to the argument that unpermitted work could create problems with an insurance claim.
4) Real estate has changed. Realtors are accountable not just for what they know, but what they ought to know. They;ve become wary, because most of them know very little about construction and codes. Unpermitted work *should*, but may not , scare a buyer or his/her realtor. Certainly, a home inspector would remark on it.
Ken.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was aprehensive when I did my basement, but the process was painless. Save yourself some grief later and get the permits.
If the inspectors DO find something incorrect you can be sure that you'd be best off to correct it now instead of later on when you don't remember just how you built something, or aftere it's blocked by furniture, etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.tnx wrote:

Hmmm, That is why when I had this house built, I had basement finished by the builder. Last house I finished it myself with permit. It cost 15.00 then.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.