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Old 11-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


I just bought a 4 bedroom 2 bath home as an investment property. Three bedrooms are upstairs. There is a master with its own bathroom, and then another bath upstairs. The bedroom downstairs doesn't have a bathroom. I believe I can rent this house easier, and will be able to charge a bit more for rent if I add a bathroom downstairs. The laudry room is downstairs, and the location of the plumbing is convenient for this addition. However, here's where it gets a little tricky. The location where I would be putting the shower is under the stairwell. In my area the building code says that the clearance has to be 7 feet in bathrooms. Well, it is for the most part, but at the back third it slants down to about 6.4'.

I have the space to add a full bath, and it would be comfortable to use the shower located partially under the stairs. However, I am afraid to put in a building permit because I am afraid that the inspector will nix the whole thing just because of that technicality.

So, I am thinking about doing it without a permit. Of course, mainly for liability reasons I will have a licensed plumber do the plumbing work and a licensed electrician do the wiring for the light and vent.

I am thinking that the worst thing that may happen is that the inspector finds out, comes and makes me rip it out. But, this thing is going to be bare bones. Just the essentials. The wall that the plumbing is going to go through for the sink is cinder block, if that tells you anything.

So, what do I do. Do I pull a permit and hope I don't get shot down (thereby losing the chance to make an extra 1800 a year in rent), or do I chance it and just do it and ask forgiveness when it comes time to sell the house?

Also, this bathroom would be an interior lower level bathroom, so it would be really difficult to try to run a vent line up to the roof or soffet. Can I run a vent out the side of the house like a dryer vent?

Thanks all.

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Old 11-12-2012, 07:16 PM   #2
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


Illegal bathroom, not vented, and with no permit? I am guessing you know the answer you are going to get to your question.

From my experience, working without permits come backs to haunt people and often at the worst times---like when you are trying to sell or close on a property. And even if the work was done to or beyond anything code would demand.

And why not a half bath downstairs off the laundry room unless you are planning to rent to unrelated adults and not a family? Where I have lived, there are usually ordinances for how many unrelated adults may live in a residential rental unit.


Last edited by user1007; 11-12-2012 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


That plus I'm not seeing how you figure you going to get more rent just because there's an extra bathroom.
It would take at least a couple of years even with your figures to get any pay back.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #4
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
From my experience, working without permits come backs to haunt people and often at the worst times---like when you are trying to sell or close on a property. And even if the work was done to or beyond anything code would demand.
Well, in my experience, this is total nonsense. I have owned ten houses in 6 different states, and performed unpermitted work on all of them. Never once have I a problem selling any of them. The vast majority of buyers are interested only in layout, size of rooms, neighborhood, etc. and know nothing of codes or permits. My work is always to code, but I don't want the aggravation and expense of dealing with pompous inspectors.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:45 PM   #5
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


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Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
Well, in my experience, this is total nonsense. I have owned ten houses in 6 different states, and performed unpermitted work on all of them. Never once have I a problem selling any of them. The vast majority of buyers are interested only in layout, size of rooms, neighborhood, etc. and know nothing of codes or permits. My work is always to code, but I don't want the aggravation and expense of dealing with pompous inspectors.
I beg to differ!
Your work is not always to code. Code states that you need a permit for adding bathrooms. Thereby, you are in violation.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


How about an "in between" approach?

Take your plans to city hall and ask the inspector what he thinks of them.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


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I beg to differ!
Your work is not always to code. Code states that you need a permit for adding bathrooms. Thereby, you are in violation.
I don't believe the code says anything about permits, though I may be wrong. It's the local AHJ that determines when a permit is required. In any case, your reply is nothing but semantics.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:20 PM   #8
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


Capfear: i would suggest you do it the right way and get the proper permit pulled..precisely dealing with any alterations to the existing structure to a residence. In the long run..hiring licences to partake in there part, an inspection will be mandatory anyways for they to will have to pull their permits individually in most states. 2nd: if the new buyer decides to have their own inspection to the residence which is legal..the setback can be of that, if the completed project is not acceptable to code.

3rd: i comprehend the investor comment as well. But on the other hand 68% of the time depending in that state you reside..down falls was met, for it is known investors try to take the shortest route just for the $$$$!!!!
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:01 AM   #9
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Adding a Bathroom - Need some suggestions


Why not go with a half bath, and do it right.
It is possible a well laid out half bath may be as desirable as one with a cramped shower.
I'd ask a local realtor if trying to squeeze in an extra shower would be worth the money.
Then you wouldn't have to worry about the above issues.

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