I wanted to know if the Tax Record of the square footage of a house is correct?

Asked by Truc Hoang, 94941 Tue Aug 28, 2007

I wanted to know if the Tax Record of the square footage of a house is correct? Because I bought a house a year ago and found out that a addition was done 50 years ago by a well known architect and contractor does not have a permit according to the building department. The Tax Record shows the correct square footage including the addition but the buiding department is wanting me to go and get all the permits for the addition that was done 50 years ago because they don't have record of it. The city's building department is making issue of this because a previous owner and neighbor got into legal issue regarding a tree and so the neighbor went down to the city to look up records for her addition and did not find any.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Tue Aug 28, 2007
Hi Truc:

One other thing I neglect to mention is that if you have not done so already, you should go back and consult with the Realtor who sold you the property.

She should be quite familiar with the property and what happened to the previous owner and the building permit and plans and what not; as well asl some idea about working with Mill Valley which I know is a pretty tough to work with.

1 vote
#1, , San Francisco Bay Area
Tue Aug 28, 2007
50 years ago, many people made improvements and additions to their properties without going through proper chanels permit wise.

I have found though that it is extremely difficult to get permits for an addition that is already completed because city or county officials do not want to hang their hat on improvements they did not follow from the beginning. Building codes today are far more restrictive then they were 50 years ago and I think you will have to deal with some "opening up" of the addition so the inspector can see the initial construction and then you may be faced with bringing the addition to today's building code standards.

Alameda county used to issue a Certificate of Occupancy for non-permitted improvements and additions but I believe they have dis-continued that practice.

The correct square footage should not be your main focus regarding this issue. The building department's main concern is that your improvement is up to code and that you obtain the proper building permits so that their future exposure is limited in the event it becomes an issue later due to a legal dispute like you described regarding your neighbor.
1 vote
Caren Horstm…, , Marin County, CA
Tue Aug 28, 2007
If you need an accurate measurement of the square footage of your home or addition you want to hire an appraiser or surveyor to measure your home and/or property. You don't want to rely on the tax record. The tax record can give you an idea of the square footage, however, it is sometimes incorrect.
1 vote
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Tue Aug 28, 2007
Hi Truc:

I am in Marin. I think your question is very specific. Give me a call or email me if you want

Sylvia Barry
(415) 717-0293
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
General Area in Mill Valley Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more