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Can you build on your property without a permit in place?

| Jun 1, 2021 | Real Estate Permits |

If you want to build a new playhouse for your children or to add on a new structure to your home, it’s important to know about the city’s zoning requirements and permits. Although you may think it would be as easy as building the structure on your property and moving on, the reality is that you may need a permit before you can begin.

Building permits are required when you are altering your home in a significant way. While ordinary repairs don’t require a permit, you will need one if you are altering your home’s structure or constructing a building on the property. That being said, size does matter. If you want to build a smaller one-store detached building, which may include things like small sheds or garages, you may not need to get a permit. In fact, Boston allows you to build a new structure without a permit so long as the floor is no larger than 120 square feet.

Be aware that individual municipalities do have their own codes, so you should always ask locally to be sure that you can build the new structure. Additionally, if you live in a Homeowner’s Association, check with the HOA before building.

Why do cities require permits for certain structures?

The reason that permits are required is to make sure that the likelihood of dangerous or poor workmanship is reduced. When you apply for a permit, you are also guaranteeing a visit from an inspector who will review the work and make sure that the construction is of good quality. Electrical work, in particular, should not be done without a permit, since poor workmanship could lead to a fire.

How do you get a permit, and what happens if you don’t?

If you want to get a permit, then you should apply before you build a structure. If you build one without a permit, you may face legal problems. You may face financial penalties and have to apply for a permit after the work is done, and any work that isn’t up to code will need to be repaired at your expense.

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