Ray, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Any issue with unpermitted Roof Deck for new condo in West Hollywood?

Asked by Ray, Los Angeles, CA Fri Aug 8, 2008

There is a new condo townhouse development in West Hollywood, CA that features a rooftop access staircase in each unit to a private deck area. The problem is apparently the units cannot be sold as featuring a roof deck as West Hollywood's fire dept will not approve such use without a fire escape. The listing agent says if I buy the place, I can do whatever I want with the roof including building a deck over the roofing material that is there now. He says lots of people do it and the city never has any reason to find out. Is that true? Would adding such a deck void the builder's warranty if there is roof damage? Also, at resale time, since I can't advertise the deck although it would obviously be there for anyone viewing the property, will it be a big negative on resale value? BTW, the agent said the builder constructed the roof with the intention of having an actual deck, so structurally, there would be no problem with adding one. Any advice about this?

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3
Dear Ray,
Lots of people do lots of things, but that won't protect you from putting yourself at risk in building an illegal deck.
Unpermitted building and illegal building is poor building. I hate to think of the liability that would exist, should someone be injured on that deck.
Take my advice, and check with both the City and also with the Fire Department, and base your decision on what you discover there.
I would not entertain any thought about building until legal permits could be obtained, and the deck build by licensed contractors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 28, 2010
I believe I know which building you are referring to. I too was told the same thing as I had a client looking at this building. They had the same concerns you had.
And while certainly it was evident that there was no "roof deck/patio," it was being marketed as such.
If I were representing you, I would have suggested that you contact the city of West Hollywood Building & Safety.
They can be found at the link below(and follow the link to contact them), or call (323) 848-6320.

Since this posting is old and all the units in the building have been sold, just keep this link for future reference. And remember, only contact them if the building is located in the city of West Hollywood. Just because the address reads West Hollywood 90069 doesn't mean it is in the city of West Hollywood-it just shares the zip code.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 21, 2009
Hello Ray,

I would think that adding such a deck would void the builders warranty. Any damage to roofs is usually covered by the HOA but it could turn into a big issue if some people do use the decks and some people don't and creates issues with the roofing. Find out if in the CC&Rs what is stated about the use of the roof and who covers what and what modifications are or aren't allowd. I don't see why at resale you couldn't advertise the deck. You could advertise it as a unpermitted deck. Or just disclose that the deck isn't permited as a deck. I would also request from the builder to get structural info that supports that shows the that the roof would support the weight of a deck. Also find out if insurance would cover any use of the deck/roof. Say there was a fire from a BBQ. Would that be covered. This could be a big can of worms. I've seen other decks in WEHO that are roof top decks. Are they saying each unit would need a fire escape or just that the roof would need a fire escape?

Best,

Monique Carrabba
The Reavis Group
Keller Williams
mcarrabba@kw.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2008
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