How can I find out if added room is permitted, without the city finding out?

Asked by Megan, Yucaipa, CA Wed Jan 14, 2009

I am about to purchase a home and need to find out if the added on room in the back of the house is permitted. I know that if the city realizes its there and its not permitted, that they can ask me to tear it down.

Is there any way around this loophole? (BTW The home was built in 1950 and is currently vacant)

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Michelle Bri…, Agent, Redlands, CA
Tue May 18, 2010
The City of Yucaipa has a Building & Safety Department that is very responsive to requests. You can go to their website and complete a form online. Don't say that you want to find out if a particular room is permitted. Just ask for all permits in the file. Once complete, print it, sign it, then drop it off at the counter at City Hall on Yucaipa Blvd. If you ask for a response via e-mail (a choice on the form), there is no charge for the documents they send you and they usually arrive 2-3 business days after the request (although they can take up to 10 days). If the work was possibly done prior to the 1980s, you may have to go to the County of San Bernardino as well to be sure.
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Jane Grant, Agent, Aguanga, CA
Sun Feb 7, 2010
Megan; All you have to do is ask the San Bernardino County Department of Building and safety what permits have been pulled on the home. You don't have to mention a specific report just ask what permits have been pulled. It's all in how you ask the question.

County of San Bernardino: Building and Safety

385 North Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0110
(909) 387-8311

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Bob Alston, , 92399
Sun Feb 7, 2010
Go to the tax assessor site you should find out there just check out the links there
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Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Jan 14, 2009
Megan, normally, cities have a permit database that can be easily acccessed by anyone.

You also may want to consider a more important issue:

There are two different valuations that come into play when we talk about these situations. The first is the value placed on such a property by current market demand. The other valuation comes from a licensed appraiser. Given the uncertainty of unpermitted work, an appraiser will not be able to place any value on such work.

For example, say a Buyer places a $500K offer on a home that has $50K in unpermitted remodeling. In this simple case the appraiser would assign a $450K value, which would require the Buyer to come to the escrow table with an additional $50K as the lender would only provide financing on the appraised value of $450K. Another issue is that of safety. Do you really know that the work was done properly? In short, buying a home with unpermitted remodeling is gambling with your financial and personal safety.

Best Regards, Steve
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