Remodel & Renovate in Downey>Question Details

Joser, Other/Just Looking in Downey, CA

I live in los angeles. do i need a permit to convert den to bedroom?

Asked by Joser, Downey, CA Tue Aug 10, 2010

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Hi Joser,

According to the City of Downey's website, "Generally, any new construction, additions, alterations or repairs to an existing building, including re-roofs, fireplaces, swimming pools, carports, remodels, hardscapes, etc., requires a permit". I would advise checking with the city to be sure - you can reach them at 562-904-7143.

Here is a link to their website:

Hope this helps - good luck!

John Barry
DRE #01856079
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Cell: 323-810-7976
Twitter: @RealtorJB
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
You will absolutely need a permit, if your intent to convert the den into a bedroom is to allow more people ot live at the property. You will need a permit for two reasons. The first is to satisfy the building and safety department and the second is to get the approval from the planning department. Parking may be an issue with planning.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 23, 2010
I depends on what you mean by “covert.” If you are going to structurally modify the den then....Yes! You need a permit in Downey and in most cities, but check with the city building department where the property is located for specifics. But if you are going to just “use” it as a bedroom, no. When it comes time to sell and you make any changes without permits—you won’t be able to get any value for the additions done without permits. If the home is in a city where a city pre-sale inspection is required, then you will have to convert the bedroom back into a den or have the buyer agree to do the work. You will probably have to discount your asking price to entice the buyer to buy your home if you sell in a “buyer’s market like we are having now.

Aida Pinto
Real Estate Broker
(562) 916-3237
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 23, 2010

Every city works different but in some cases the same. If the eclosed den was done without permit and you want to include it in the event you want to sell the property then you will need to go to the city for it and to the county to give it it's proper assessment. Be aware that some cities may have penalties for having the work done without permit. Thay may ask you to demolish the work.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
I misunderstood the question. I thought Joser wanted to do the work to code. You can put in a closet if you like, but the California building code (and real estate law) does not require a closet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
Once again I know Joe means well but if you do not do any structural work then you only need to comply with the building codes and energy savings of the exact time the home was built, I'm sure the den has a heat and A/C duct and electrical is adequate. The window may be your only obstacle.

Even if you do some electrical work is minor and the City will not force you to bring everything up to new codes.

Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
The den was built to code for that particular year which means if you do not do any structural work, opening walls and/or framing all building codes for that year remain the same (grandfathered in) you may install a closet w/o permits if you install one of those set in place type manufactured closets.

You will require permits for any electrical additions, most of the time a den has adequate electrical.

If you do not do any structure work and the house was built prior to smoke detectors being required you DO NOT need to install a new system. I would at least install battery type alarms.

For a habitable sleeping space there must be a window for light and ventilation and emergency exit, about 8% is good. if the room is 12 x 12 = 144 sf then the window must be at least 3 x 4 at around 36 inches from the floor.

If you want to sell the house advertising an additional bedroom then obtain a permit at that time.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
Yes, yes, yes.

How will this sleeping room be heated? Is the room more than 75 square feet. Are there receptacles at every wall that exceeds 2-feet in width? Must have a hard-wire smoke alarm with a battery back-up (inside and outside the room). All electrical outlets must be protected by an AFCI (Arc Fault) circuit. Must have dual pane window(s) that meet the minimum requirements for egress, ventilation and light. Don't forget sheer panels and R-30 insulation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
Anytime there is a change in the structure of a building, interior or exterior, a permit is required. The city will have handouts with the information on what needs a permit and what does not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
Always ask the city for permits to avoid fines and tear downs
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
Contact the city it will also need the change the tax rolls on how the property is recorded in county records. They would be the experts on a Realtor

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
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