Doing interior renovations to your house or apartment can be a tricky business. While you may have a lot of great ideas about what renovations you’d like to undertake, unfortunately, it might not be as simple as you think. Most municipalities and local governments nowadays require a permit for many home renovations.
You don’t need a permit to build a closet that doesn’t change the layout of the house and costs less than $15,000. The closet mustn’t be attached to a load-bearing wall. However, you’ll need a permit if the closet changes the positions of doors or windows.
In the remainder of this article, I’ll explain the requirements for building a closet, the correct procedure to get a permit from your local authority, and what happens if you decide not to obtain a license.
Closets That Need A Permit: Requirements and Conditions
While local authorities tend to differ significantly on regulations, permits tend to have the same conditions between states.
Here are the four main cases in which you’ll need to apply for a permit before building your closet.
- Changing the position of doors or windows. Doors and windows are necessarily a part of your house blueprints, so changing their position will require a permit.
- The closet will be attached to, or supported by, a load-bearing wall. Load-bearing walls support the main structure of your house, so changing anything that might be fixed on a wall like this will most certainly require a permit. If you plan to demolish the load-bearing wall or change its setting in any way, it may require a special permit.
- Changing the house layout. If, for example, you decide to build your closet in an extension of your house, you’ll have to apply for a permit.
- The general cost is upwards of $15,000. This includes any labor and material cost, including any contractor payments necessary.
Changing the layout of your house requires an update of public records, so it is essential to bear this in mind when making plans for any interior renovation.
Closets That May Not Need A Permit
If your closet is just a little addition to the interior of your house (for example, in a bedroom and without requiring a change in doors, windows, or wall-bearing structures), you most likely won’t need a permit to complete the work.
For example, according to the website for Beaverton, Oregon, the change of non-bearing partitions (walls) is allowed to continue without a permit, so long as it doesn’t create a “habitable room.”
For reference, a habitable room constitutes any space for living, sleeping, or eating.
Therefore, if your closet is merely for storage, it doesn’t count as a habitable room, and therefore may not require the application of a permit.
What Is The Procedure To Get A Permit?
Building permits are essential documents that allow you to complete any work on your land.
Depending on the area you live in, it’s a process that ensures the safety and compliance of your proposed renovations with local laws.
Generally speaking, the procedure for applying for a permit can differ slightly between states.
In this case, it’s best to call your local council or visit their website for more information and clarify precisely what you might need to get a permit for your closet.
To get a permit, you usually need to provide the following in your application:
- Overall proposed plans and an account of your project.
- Area and exact location of your proposed plans.
- The signature of the responsible, namely the owner of the property or a licensed contractor.
- Cost of the proposed projects, including all site work and excluding any land cost.
The process of applying for, and receiving, your permit could take anything up to six weeks; it depends on the procedures of your local council and whether or not they need to visit your property before accepting your application.
What Happens if You Do Not Get A Permit?
There are many reasons to get a permit for renovation work. It could impede the possibility of selling your home without complications and could land you with a hefty fine. In some cases, you may even be asked to tear down any work you completed and reapply for a permit.
If you decide you’ll be selling your home in the future, remember that home inspectors sometimes check public records to make sure the layout is compliant with local laws.
Put simply, any renovation completed with a necessary permit may be a huge waste of your time. Removing any work done will be more hassle than applying for a license.
Depending on its dimensions, location, and cost, a permit is often necessary to build a closet.
Even if you don’t need a permit to begin renovations, it’s always best to double-check with your local authorities either by phone or via their website. This is not legal advice, please double check your local laws.