As a Realtor AND a licensed general contractor, there are some answers below that I would not agree with.
@ Gilbert Richards:
â€œIt depends, some counties do not require permits for adding a bathroom on an existing foundation, and for the most part remodeling your kitchen doesn't require permits in most counties.â€
Disagree: All counties in California require permits for adding a bathroom anywhere for any reason. And you would be VERY surprised to know that cities now want you to pull a permit for any facet of kitchen remodeling. Although many homeowners do not comply, cities have increased the requirements so that a permit is now required for replacing a sink, light fixture and so on.
@ Gilbert Richards:
â€œHonestly I have closed two deals without permitted work that was similar because the specific type of work did not require a permit from the County. So the property may be fine. So we can't say whether or not it is legal unless we know the provisions for that particular city and county.â€
Disagree: Many Realtors close deals with unpermitted work. Happens EVERY day. Doesnâ€™t make it OK or right. The question the buyer is asking is, â€œShould I proceed with the purchase,â€ not, â€œIs it possible to close a transaction with code and permit violations.â€ Those who are not licensed general contractors should be VERY cautious about answering code questions. As for differences between various counties and cities, California now has a uniform building code for the entire state.
@ Ken Vasan:
Good link â€“ demonstrates EXACTLY what I am talking about.
@ Helen Chong
â€œKitchen remodelling usually doesn't require a permit.â€
Disagree. This is a common misperception amongst Realtors â€“ a simple phone call to the city building department could be very educational. (510) 494-4460
Call the City of Fremont and discuss it with them. You can also see copies of any permits and/or plans on record at the city Building Department at 39555 Liberty Street in Fremont. Iâ€™ve visited with them on numerous occasions and have also pulled MANY permits with them â€“ they are very helpful. You will be able to make copies of the permits for a fee â€“ getting a copy of the plans is a bit more complicated and has a waiting period while they contact the designer/architect. You should consider asking for an extension until you get this sorted out and feel more comfortable with it.
Bottom line: unpermitted work is rampant and has some VERY serious liability. You can read more in the following posts:
You TOO Can Purchase A Ticking Time Bomb! One Easy Step!
(Remodeling Without Permits - Part #1)
What Might Your Next Home Purchase Have In Common With The Titanic? 7 Key Recommendations
(Remodeling Without Permits - Part #2)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly â€“ 3 CRITICAL Things To Know About Flips
3 Things You MUST Do To Get Your Albatross To Land Successfullyâ€¦