I demolished the walls and ceilings without a permit. Am I in violation? And what is the penalty?

Asked by Gettreated12, Chicago, IL Sun Aug 25, 2013

Tore down all the walls and ceiling on the first floor.

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Ranj Mohip, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Mon Aug 26, 2013
Every city has its own rules. Assuming that the property is (1) in Chicago, (2) not a landmark building, (3) less than 4 residential units, (4) less than 4 stories, and (5) isn't mixed use, minor repairs do not require a permit (Chicago Code 13-32-020). Did you "demolish" the walls, or did you remove the plaster/lath, drywall, or paneling and leave the studs in place? If you removed walls, you will need a permit. If you stripped the wall covering only (removed drywall), you may be able to replace up to 1,000 square feet of drywall without a permit if you don't do work to the electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems.

Attorney Ranj Mohip is a Chicago real estate attorney. The information in this answer is general information and is not intended as legal advice. Further, answering this question or otherwise contributing as a member of Trulia.com does not create an attorney-client relationship. Remember--consult the best real estate attorney in Chicago or in your respective area. Contact us at http://www.ChicagoRealEstateAttorney.com for more information.
4 votes
Evelyn S. Fr…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Aug 26, 2013
Best advise came from the attorney, follow his advice!

Good luck!
1 vote
Santiago Ken…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Aug 25, 2013
The penalty could be the second floor collapse and kill you .... because you never hire an structural engineer .
1 vote
Mike Opyd, Agent, Chicago, IL
Wed Mar 26, 2014
If the city finds out you may be in trouble. Most likely a monetary fine of some sort. Really depends on the property type, what its zoned for, what you did. Too many variables there to answer really. Bring a contractor through and have them answer this.
0 votes
John Moustis, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sat Oct 12, 2013
At this point I would stop any additional work until you have a professional contractor involved and they could assist you thru the entire process. Plus the walls that you may have removed could have been load bearing walls which in turn will cause structural damage without the proper support.

Thank you,
John G Moustis
President / Owner
Phone & Fax: 630-963-6020
Email: jmoustis@spartancontractor.com
Website: http://www.spartancontractor.com

Quality building, remodeling & consulting services in the Chicagoland area since 1991
0 votes
Daniel Mirea, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Oct 10, 2013
You should pull the permits! Some work you can do it in Chicago as a owner (don't need to hire a contractor if that's the problem)! Check with CitY of Chicago building Department . If you removing plaster and instal some new drywall (maximum 20) not big deal but if you move structural walls /whole ceiling involving electric plumbing that is big stuff.....you need a contractor and permit!

I have clients what used to fix homes without permit until got caught. They had to go to court , pay all the fees/ hire an architect and had to demolish even things what they never done in the property and redo everything with permits , licensed contractors .
Is not worth taking the risk + the stress coming with it ( working with blinds on the windows/ working on the weekends and after 5 when city of chicago are not working).

This is just my opinion! Good Luck To You!
0 votes
Mike Opyd, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Aug 27, 2013
Pull permits. Its not worth taking the risk of getting caught and costing you more money in the future.
0 votes
Bill J Delig…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Tue Aug 27, 2013
If you want to be 100% sure then you must ask the city if a permit is required for the work you did.
0 votes
JIM Michaels, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Aug 25, 2013
If you have to ask that may be the answer
0 votes
Jacqueline S…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Aug 25, 2013
Well, if you get caught they will put a stop work order on it and make you wait until you get full architectural drawings and permit approval. You would have to pay a penalty for starting the work without a permit, which could be pay double the permit draw amount.

You could pull the permit now, before the city finds out and just pay the regular permit fees. The stated value of the repairs/remodel are used to help reassess the property for taxes when the tri-annual reassessment rolls around for your area.

You could, theoretically finish the work as quietly as you can. Properly dispose of construction materials, not in the alley, but it is hard to hind a dumpster and for all anyone knows dumpster companies report usage to the city. Or if you work at odd hours and annoy the neighbors, the could report you.

Many people get things done without a permit, but are you doing the work correctly, did you remove anything structural of affect safety with water and electric, will a future buyer go to the city for proof that the work was done correctly and permitted. You could lose part of the value of unpermitted work if a buyer has an issue with it.
0 votes
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Aug 25, 2013
You should pull permits. Its just a risk you will have to take.
0 votes
Philip Sencer, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Aug 25, 2013
You need to call the city building department and ask, but not sure you would want to do that. Just repair them. People do things inside their properties all the time without permits. As long as no one complains it is no big deal, but do the work according to code.
0 votes
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