Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Zac Af, Home Buyer in 90045

In escrow on a 3-bed 3-bath condo that is listed in Public Records as 2-bed 2-bath.

Asked by Zac Af, 90045 Mon Oct 7, 2013

I'm in escrow on a 3-bed 3-bath condo in Los Angeles 90045 that is listed in Public Records (Tax Assessor) as 2-bed 2-bath. I think the extra bed/bath were done with no permits.
It appraised fine... So what are the consequences to me legally and otherwise if I buy this condo? Is this a risk? I see it all the time.. it seems common.
Any help is greatly appreciated!!

Help the community by answering this question:


I would check with the agent or owner,sometimes the unit may have a den/family room that an owner put up a non-bearing wall to add a bedroom .If they moved around interior walls they should have gotten a permit to make sure everything is structural sound ! Good Luck !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 23, 2013
We have the sam dilemma, public records show 2 bed 1 bath but the house is actually 3 bed and 2 bath after reno. Seller was able to provide recipts of the permits and the inspection record from the city even found finalized status on LADBS website about the property but our concern is that its not showing us 3 and 2 on the assessors.lacounty public records website. Where do we have to go to verify this info?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 17, 2013
Also keep in mind bedrooms need to have windows and closets!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
Hi Zac,

If tax records are showing 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms you are correct the extra bedroom and bathroom may not be permitted. I would request bedroom and bathroom count information from your Realtor. Question Realtor as to why sold as 3 bedrooms/3 bathrooms but tax records showing 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms. Additionally, I would request a copy of the appraisal to verify bedroom/bath count used in appraisal. There maybe unrecorded records showing additional bedroom/bath count. First get it cleared up about the valid legal bedroom/bath count. If in fact the legal count is 2 bedroom/2 baths that is what you have purchased. May want to consult with attorney I am a Realtor but think unit would have to be sold based on legal bedroom/bath count. Hope that Helps.

Gail Mercedes Cole
EXP Realty Marina del Rey
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 8, 2013
Hi Zac,
. Usually when permits are pulled with the city, they will update their records and the tax consequences.
Your risk is
1.getting the loan. Lenders do not like illegal additions and the illegal space is not included in appraisal.
2. poor workmanship.Most illegal work is poor work.
3. being asked by the city to "bring the illegal addition up to code or remove it".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 8, 2013
Depends. Are you paying price of "legal" 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo or are you getting at discount because it is not permitted?
When you sell, you will want to sell as legal, right?
Consequences are that you may not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 8, 2013
Definitely check with the city directly to see if it was permitted, sometimes it doesn't show up correctly in the tax records. If it's not permitted, remember that when you go to sell it it will still only officially be a 2/2. Also, the appraiser will not be able to count the unpermitted space in the appraisal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 7, 2013
Thanks. I found out it is not permitted... I checked with the city. The appraiser did count the unpermitted space in the appraisal. That's why I am baffled.
Flag Mon Oct 7, 2013
You were correctly advised by one of the resoondents to check with the home owners association and find out if it was approved by them or could be. Generally any alteration of a condo requires prior association approval. If prior approval was required and not obtained, the association could force the owner to remove it. If the City of Los Angeles department of building and safety finds out about it, they would inspect it including opening up all the walls to determine if the work, structural, plumbing and wiring was done to code. If it were, you would then have to pay for the permit plus penalties as well as the restoration work. If it were not to code it would have to be redone to code or torn out and restored to original condition. You need to determine this prior to close of escrow, preferably in your contingency period.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 7, 2013
You should speak with an attorney anytime there is a legal question as agents are not licensed or qualified to properly advise you. There is a website called http://www.thepermitreport.com where you can order the permit history. Next, and after first speaking with the seller, you may also want to contact the homeowners association and see if the change was approved. You will have to disclose to future buyers when you go to sell of the discrepancy in the public records and if they were added without permit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 7, 2013
Thank you, Jeffrey. The seller disclosed to me this information and I did talk to an attorney too. It's weird because the association approved the change. It seems the only record not updated or approved is the tax assessor.
Flag Mon Oct 7, 2013
You can find out if the work was permitted by asking the owner to provide you with copies of permits for the work. You can also go to the department of building and safety to inquire there too.

If there are no permits for the additional bedroom and bathroom the downside to you is when you sell the property you will need to disclosure that the unit is 2 bedrooms, 2 bath. (The current owner should have noted this too.)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 7, 2013
Oh, and thank you very much Sonya :)
Flag Mon Oct 7, 2013
The work is not permitted, I checked. The current owner did note this and I have no problem disclosing this info when I sell it. I'm just wondering what are any consequences in the meantime.
Flag Mon Oct 7, 2013
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