If a home has a non-permitted addition room and bathroom in the garage (iilegal construction),what happens? Can the city require it to be torn down?

Asked by casa fantastica, 90036 Tue Feb 9, 2010

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Tommy Lee’s answer
Tommy Lee, , 91502
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Dear Casa Fantastica,
Your question appeared in the Glendale section of Q & A of Trulia. If you are interested in buying in Glendale, please be aware that the city of Glendale is very active in requiring people to have a property to code. If a neighbor has complained, you might be required to restore the house to the information recorded on the Assessors books.

Surrounding areas are not as agressive, so beware and check your permits.

Please call me if you need help.

Tommy Lee
Dilbeck Real Estate
303 N. Glenoaks Blvd. Ste. L-110
Burbank, CA 91502
1 vote
Jane Grant, Agent, Aguanga, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Only if the City finds out. In certain circumstances you may obtain an "AS BUILT", permit. I would check with a building contractor who is extremely experienced and comes with many good references before doing anything.

It is always best in the long run to get these issues resolved due to problems that can occur in the future, and also for insurance purposes.

Good Luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.soreal.biz
1 vote
hi i bought the house in 1992.now the city of Lakewood says theirs no permit on the garage 10 foot extension and wants me to take it down i told them no ..it has been there since 1961 when they put in the pool and the house has been sold 3 times..who fault is it the realtor the prior owner the inspector ..the loan co. escrow ..??? thanks ...gene
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Anthony Perez, Agent, Northridge, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
If the work was done to code and the bathroom is allowed you may be able to get it permitted, you may have some additional work to be done or a car port built but the first step to finding this out is to have somebody first inspect exactly what you have to see if it's worth keeping or not, it could be more costly to keep it than to do a rip out and disposal.

Another word if it was built not to code it would probably not be worth keeping it if it was then it may be an asset.

ICC 'private' code inspector.
1 vote
Jenny A. Le, , California
Tue Feb 9, 2010
I've called the department and they are friendly and helpful:


Glendale Zoning Maps and Code: http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/maps.asp

License & Permits: http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/permits.asp

I hope the information/links will help you.
1 vote
Sean & Art, Agent, Glendale, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Hey Casa,
Everyone is spot on w/ their answers but each case varies. Like Keith said, if you're purchasing by obtaining an FHA loan then you're probably going to have road blocks ahead of you. If your not and your getting a traditional loan then your experience can be as simple as the city never finding out. Many times the city might make you just get the permits to have it on record rather than tearing it down; but, since things are slow and inspectors don't have as much work, you should expect a city inspector coming out to the house. Usually, it's a neighbor who's the first to make a formal complaint. Uanfortunately there is no one answer but you should expect the worst. See the citys web link for further information.
1 vote
Eduard Khach…, , Glendale, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
The best source to get an answer is the city planning department.
They have good people there that can assist you.
1 vote
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Dear Casa,
Yes they can demand that the constrution be removed. There is also the possibility that they will require the addition be "brought up to curent code". Quite a bit will depend upon the city you are in, and the zoning requirements in that particular city.
1 vote
Thadeus Brew…, , Scottsdale, AZ
Tue Feb 9, 2010
I would 1st check with the building department. I have seen quite a few non-permitted additions get as built permits if they are built to code & zoning allows it.
Web Reference:  http://www.prmglending.net
1 vote
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
There are a couple of issues here:
First, when purchasing a home, particularly with FHA financing, unpermitted work is going to cause a big problem. We have had illegal garage conversions make properties ineligible for FHA financing.
Second, IF the city of Glendale finds out, they can make the owner bring the property to code. There was a property last year that had an unpermitted garage conversion that included a full bath and kitchen removed prior to sale.

To find out what is and is not permitted, contact the Dept. of Building and Safety and has jurisdiction for the area and ask for copies of the building permits.
1 vote
CJ Brasiel, Agent, San Jose, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Casa -

Yes, if the city finds out about it they can require it be torn down.
Normally, it is a neighbor who reports it.


Web Reference:  http://www.TalkToCJ.com
1 vote
Michaelle1963, Home Buyer, Glendale, CA
Tue Sep 24, 2013
My neighbor room 'does not add 2 permits of the city and into many rooms in the house to let more people vo shareroom, it makes very complex area, on the pond, security mat. Please call the city would check down license this add's room and check the house. Home address is
2356 Pacheco Dr San Jose, CA 95133
0 votes
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Mon Sep 16, 2013
You should contact the code enforcement department of t the city in question to get clear info on this.

Some cities require a compete tear down, others will allow the additions to stay providing the new owner brings the construction up to code.

Best of Luck to You,
Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes
Aram Arakely…, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sun Aug 21, 2011
Illegal garage conversions are very common in and around L.A.
1- Yes you can be ordered to tear it down...
2- Yes a conversion can be built legally if built correctly.
3- Prior signing a purchase contract get a ICC code inspector he will give you an idea of corrections needed.
4. Property will not qualify for FHA financing.

Aram Arakelyan
Your La Broker for Life!
Ph: 818-450-7446
0 votes
Anthony Perez, Agent, Northridge, CA
Wed Aug 25, 2010
Illegal garage conversions are so very common in and around L.A. and can be a safety and fire hazard if not done correctly. SAFETY FIRST!!!!

1- Yes you can be ordered to tear it down...if the city finds out.
2- yes a conversion can be built legally if built correctly.
3- A 2 car port/over hang must take the place of the garage.
4- If you need the space prior so signing get a private ICC code inspector he will give you an idea of corrections and see if you are able to fit a car port.

Anthony R. Perez
Web Reference:  http://www.CAcertified.com
0 votes
Heros Hagopi…, Agent, Glendale, AZ
Wed Aug 25, 2010
If it is non-permitted then it is not permitted.if you are looking for a fantastic house and willing to pay the market price call me.....

Heros Hagopian
prudential CA Realty, Glendale

Broker /associate 818-389-5472
0 votes
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