Can cities require dismantling of home alterations if they were done before the city had laws regarding such alterations?

Asked by Edna, Lynwood, CA Thu Sep 22, 2011

An garage wall was extended to make the garage longer, approx. in the 1950s. Now the city wants the addition torn down because the wall sits on the property line, as do many other structures on the same street. The 5' setback rule was not in the city rules until many years later. Now, upon sale of the property, the city is demanding the removal of the addition. I heard on a radio talk show that there is a CA state law restricting cities from doing this.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Harold Sharpe, Agent, LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ
Sat Sep 24, 2011
Tell the city to talk to their GRANDFATHER about it.
If that does not work request a VARIANCE.
If that doesn't work, consult with a real estate attorney.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
0 votes
Lisa Reeves, Agent, Tampa, FL
Fri Sep 23, 2011
Grandfathering - usually allows for improvements or uses that are phased out due to changes in City/County code. However there are some cases where even if the improvement is considered grandfathering it only is good until the current owner sells. So if you recently purchased the property - the City may come and ask you to "fix" this issue because the grandfathering doesn't survive the sale. Also check to see if the City is planning to make some sort of improvement in the area and all the homeowners have been asked to tear down all improvements in the setback area. If they are installing underground and your structure sits in the way - it may have to be removed. Do some more research to see what the real reason for their request is and if it needs representation then get an attorney.
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Thu Sep 22, 2011
You should contact your elected officials to get a variance for property that should be Grandfathered. Most all other cities do this and I would think yours would as well. Before hiring a lawyer I would speak to the mayor or councilmen or commissioners or what ever you have there.
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Thu Sep 22, 2011
Called GRANDFATHERING IN, it should be legal:
The problem in not so much the PERMIT as it is the CODE and safety considerations.
You can probably hire a Lawyer and fight it;
But which would be more expensive?

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Selling in Lynwood Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more