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RESIDENTIAL PERMITS

If you plan to sell or remodel your home, you may be affected by recent real estate law changes, which require a disclosure statement for property remodeling and additions where permits have not been obtained.

The Building Division receives frequent requests for inspections of houses that are being placed on the resale market. If permits were not secured for remodeling or additions, it can be a very costly and inconvenient process for the homeowner.

Lenders require proof that a building permit has been secured. If the work involved additions or remodeling without permits, the wallboard must be removed to expose the framing members, as well as electrical and plumbing work, that was not inspected during construction.

Although a contractor will often secure the necessary permits, the responsibility for obtaining building, mechanical, electrical or plumbing permits lies with the homeowner.


YOU DO NOT NEED A PERMIT FOR THE FOLLOWING:

  • Cosmetic work, such as installing carpet, painting, wallpapering
  • Minor improvements, such as replacing a garbage disposal or dishwasher
  • One story detached accessory buildings used as tool and/or storage sheds or playhouses and under 120 Sq. ft. of projected roof area.
  • Fences not over 6 ft. in height.
  • Retaining walls under 3 ft. in height (including foundation).
  • Swimming pools less than 5,000 gallons and setting above the adjacent grade.
  • Detached platforms, walks and decks without a cover, under 30 inches high and under 120 sq. ft.
  • Removable window awnings projecting not more than 54 inches.

YOU DO NEED A PERMIT FOR THE FOLLOWING:

  • Installation of free-standing fireplaces
  • Fireplace and wood stove inserts
  • Replacement of hot water heater, furnace or air conditioner
  • Water softeners
  • New sewer, water or gas line
  • Changes to retaining walls
  • Room additions
  • Window Replacement
  • Fire damage repair
  • Electric service upgrade, electric service panel relocation, and new wiring or electric plugs
  • Installation of heat pumps or solar panels
  • Reconstruction of older homes
  • New siding or new roof
  • Termite repair work
  • Pools, spas and hot tubs
  • Patio covers, decks over 30 inches high OR over 100 square feet OR attached to the house, and gazebos
  • Permanent affixed or freestanding signs

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The Building Division has created handouts that explain requirements for various residential improvements. For additional information, please review documents below.

If you have questions, feel free to contact the Building Division at (510) 724-8912

  • Click here to learn more about the Building Permit Process.
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