Finished basement permit or work completed by previous owner

Asked by firstimer, Mansfield, MA Sun Aug 2, 2009

Hello, I'm looking to buy a place in bristol county, MA which has a finished basement but the owners did not take a permit for that work.

My question is,
- what does it take in the North Attleboro, bristol county, MA to get a permit after the project is completed (and is probably completed for years)
- does the county charge you for all the back years taxes for the 'additional living space'?
- Is there any one who might have prior exampls of this type of situation was handled?
- the buyer is asking for additional dollars if the permit should have to be taken.

I want to understand upto how much it is worth to have him do all the work with the town.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Zero, Home Buyer, Massachusetts
Sat Aug 15, 2009
Is this home on Bungay Rd. in North Attleboro by chance? I also looked at this home and have the same questions?
0 votes
Ken Lambert, , Exeter, NH
Tue Aug 4, 2009
Hello Firstimer- One general question is- Why do you want to go thru all of this? Just so you know it is all "legal" per the Town? If that's the only reason, then I don't know if it is worth all you or the seller's time and aggravation and cost to do this. For the seller, he would likely try to pass you and move onto another buyer who wouldn't bring this up as an issue.
It is quite likely that the Seller will have to pay triple the cost of the normal permit fees PLUS he may have to pay back taxes for the higher property assessments. If he does all that, of course you will end up paying for that via a higher purchase price.
If he does all this and gets a permit, that does not prove that things were done correctly. The whole thing is complete and many things are inspected at a "rough" construction stage- but now the Town Inspector cannot do that because everything is covered up.
I think your practical bet is get a good home inspection on your own, and maybe forget about the legalese of this. I'm just talking about practicality here- not legality...
Thanks, and good luck,

Ken L.
0 votes
Raymond Card…, , Middletown, RI
Sun Aug 2, 2009

Scott is right on target your Realtor should be able to guide you on a lot of these issues. one thing that is of a big concern is the quality of the work that is there. Permits are not just a way to track tax assessments, they are mainly for INSPECTIONS.
When a permit is obtained the city/town will inspect the work to make sure it meets minimal standards. With out this you are left to trust that the previous homeowner had a clue as to what they were doing. The basement is a place where there is so much potential for disaster. Be sure to get a very thorough Home Inspection. This will save a lot of headaches in the future.
0 votes
Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Sun Aug 2, 2009
You have several issues there. With the new regulations in the smoke detector certificate inspection rules you might not even make it till after the sale to remedy these issues. Local fire officials are asking prior to scheduling the inspection if there is living space in the basement and if so the inspectional services will have to sign off on all that is down there before scheduling the smoke/carbon monoxide detector inspection.

You should consult with a licenced general contractor to see if what is down there is in complaince or eligible for an as built permit. Some assesors office might assess back taxes depending on how extensive the work is, some may not.

The value to a buyer for the space will be subjective. Of course they'll want alot more financial consideration if they're taking the risk of purchasing without the proper permits & allowances. Alot will depend upon how much space this area makes up of the total. If it's the amount that takes a property from 2 to 3 bedrooms there is a greater value than if it's just simply an open space, same with additional baths etc.

You should consult with a local contractor that has extensive experience working with the town of North Attleboro.

Good Luck
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in North Attleboro Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more