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Old 03-31-2009, 11:20 PM   #31
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


OC, I realized you had less money involved than you added in value. Unfortunately, I think they will use assessed value, so you may have spent 3000, but you may have really added 10,000 or so in resale or assessment.

I still wish you the best of luck. If you think you have any chance with the municipality, I would exhaust all those efforts first. Usually once the muni finds out there is pending legal action, they shut off all communication with you.


Last edited by jomama45; 03-31-2009 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:23 PM   #32
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Uh...yeah....the lawyer wants you to hire him

Have you talked to the building inspector yet?
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:39 AM   #33
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


the lawyer was a referral from nother lawyer that is a family friend. I told him I was broke. He said that there might not be a lot he can do for me, but for $90 consultation he will go over the whole story and try to write me a "script" to follow when talking to the city and a plan of action. He said that legally there isnt much I can do. He can try to put me on the right course though. He said to start by going to the city tomorrow and asking to pull all permits on the property since the original build date. A new roof was put on the entire house about 7 years ago, bonus room included. He said that if I can find proof that the city has ever been there in the past to approve a permit then I have legal standing because I will be able to prove they let it slide once before. So first thing get all permits dating back 40 years. Then go to the title company and pull a all titles to show a chain of ownershhip so I can prove how many past owners lived here with the problem. Then get letters from immediate neighbors stating that they don;t care about the room. He will then just sit with me and tell me how to approach the conversation with the city when I have it.

Worst case scenario if all that fails, he can write a letter to the city and hope the threat of legal action scares them. If that fails too, then I am probably screwed.

As for the inspector, no. I have left messages and he is not retrning my calls. Go figure.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:49 PM   #34
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Get to the code enforcement office and start working with the field officer and the dept head. You can probably work out the problem of the very old existing structure location, but the new unpermitted work you did may cost you some money as far as having to open walls up for electrical, mechanical, and plumbing inspections. Be prepared to have to bring any deficiencies up to code (even old existing work); and quite possibly have to some work on the walls at the peoperty lines to provide fire safety for the neighboring structures. Do not be argumentative about fixing problems just because they were "existing"; it will only hurt your case. Many areas also tack on an additional "penalty" fee to acquire a permit retroactively.
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:32 PM   #35
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


as for working on the walls at the property line, there isn't much that can be done wihtout demo'ing the whole thing. The wall up against the property line is the lower half of the supporting roof for the structure, and half of it is brick with a fireplace. Literally a 8 foot wide, 5 foot deep and 8 feet tall stack of brick and mortar, then narrows at the top as it goes to just a brick chimney. To make this room to code, I would have to remove tons of brick, rebuild a supporting exterior wall and do who knows what to the gas line for the gas fireplace. I have no experience in these type of things, but I am guessing that all this would cost me just about as much as it would to knock it down, or maybe even more. And that brings me back to the fact that I am broke.

Like I originally stated, even if I wanted to (and I don't). I do not have the financial means to do any of this. I went way over budget on the move in and getting it livable. I just made my mortgage payment and I have nothing at all in the bank. Zero. I am putting the lawyer on my credit card. In this economy it will be months or years beforoe I have any kind of money. After bills and mortgage and other living expenses I am left with about $300 a month and my fiance about the same. At $600 a month it would take years to save up enough money to do anything like this.

Now, if/when the economy turns around I will be in much better shape. My pay is down by $2500 a month compared to a year ago. If I was making my normal pay, this would not be a huge issue. I would have a $3,300 a month surplus instead of a $600 surplus. As it is though, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they push too hard, I have no options other than to tell them no. If they start hitting me with liens and or bills/fines, I will have no choice but to walk and throw away all the money I have already put into this thing and ruin my credit. Just seems very unfair if that is what it comes to. Especially since the housing market is still dropping. What could they possibly gain from doing this to me? If they force me to leave, the house is now flagged. Nobody will buy it. Houses are already sitting an average of 9 months unsold here, this thing could sit vacant for years before someone picks it up.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:02 PM   #36
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Just an update. I went into the building planning office and was told that I should draw up a diagram (a P.O.P.?) of the house and all it's dimentions and bring it back to them. They told me that they do not issue variances unless there is a unique lot size or shape, and I would not be eligible because my lot is the same as everyone elses. They told me that in the long run they will probably demand a demolition, but they will hold off on a final answer until they get all the facts in. They were unsympathetic to the fact that it has been here 40 years and 4 owners. they basically told me what I already know...that I have bad luck, but that it is no defense and will not help me. They said once the city knows about it, they have to enforce the rules and that if they were to say the room was ok and then it caught fire or collapsed and hurt someone it would make them liable.

Any opinions on their liability excuse?

Also, I did pull permits on the hosue and there was only 1 permit issued in the last 50 years. It was issued in 1992 and was for a room addition on the 2nd floor. Funny thing is that this house already has a 2nd story on every part of it except for this bonus room. Any ideas on using this as a defense? Basically if they approved a 2nd story addition to the house in 1992 and this room was already here, does that not imply that they approved of the rest of the house at that time? There was no code enforcement issued at that time. As for the room addition permit in 1992, it was approved but the owners never went beyond that. They got a permit and never built the addition.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:16 PM   #37
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


If they never built an addition then it can't be used 100%
What did they submit as building plans?
Anything to indicate the lower room existed at that time?
If they had built an additon over the bonus room & it was inspected & approved then that would be a defense

How do you know the addition was not built?
Is that indicated somewhere?
Unfortunately setback & fire codes may take priority

Here we have a 15' setback required
The house is less then that from the property line (since it was built)
It's grandfathered, but I can't add on to it in any way in that direction
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:03 PM   #38
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


i like your lawyer experience:
Quote:
told him I was broke. He said that there might not be a lot he can do for me
ya.. that pretty much sums it up.

good luck with your situation, i hope you catch a break.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:25 PM   #39
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


here, the code says the setback from the property line has to be 5 feeet for a structure or 2 1/2 feet for a roof. this room is about 10 inches from the property line and the roof is about 6 inches.

they said there is no such thing as "grandfathered in" in this city. They don't care if it's here 100 years, once they find out about it, it is handled as if you just built it. So they say.

I know the addition wasn't built because the 2nd story of my home is exactly the same as every other 2 story in the neighborhood for one. And also the city said that they got approval for the permits, but never built it. That is what the city said anyway.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:45 PM   #40
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


I am new here. Feel it very interesting about the situation. I have lot of sympathy to the owner. Is that possible to post a photo here? I mean a shot on the add-on in question? Thanks.

Hope this will have a happy resolve.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:41 PM   #41
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Come clean, what's the back story to all this?
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:54 PM   #42
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
Come clean, what's the back story to all this?
Read the thread, its all spelled out pretty clearly
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:22 PM   #43
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Hey Bill - you say "this action was to scare you into getting a permit, get the permit and do any needed repairs and they'll get off your back." (I'm paraphrasing)

I'm actually in a similar situation - I've satisfied all conditions of a refi on my home, except for providing a copy of the building permit for my detached bonus room, which was built in 1952 (I bought the home in 1990, after being assured the room was permitted, but without ever seeing a copy of that permit). Is it possible in California to simply ask for a new permit? i realize we'd have to have it inspected, but I'm very confident it would pass all current codes - it was way overbuilt for its time. Thanks - if you have advice to lend I'd appreciate it - you can send to my personal email at gail.burt@gmail.com.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:06 PM   #44
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advice/Help on non-permitted bonus room?


Hmmmm...wonder what happened with this ?

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