TO GET A PERMIT, OR NOT TO GET A PERMIT… THAT IS THE QUESTION!

I think that permits are one of the huge mysteries of the Universe. Do you need one or not? What work should have a permit and what can be done without a permit? Many people just ignore the fact that permits are required. I’ve seen people replace their roofs on the weekend to avoid getting a permit.

But what does this all mean to a buyer when it is time to buy? Or to the Seller that did not get permits? Let me see if I can straighten out some of these questions by providing some basic information about permits.

I had a home owner practically fighting with me because she had enclosed about half of her garage to make a bedroom and bath and had not gotten a permit. That square footage was not listing as living space, so her house appeared smaller on paper than it actually was. That meant it was not worth as much as she thought it was. She insisted it was ok because a Contractor had told her that she did not need a permit to do that remodel. Well, if you look below, remodeling and additions are definitely listed on the PERMIT NEEDED list.

First of all, here is a list of items that DO need permits according to the City of Clearwater:

  • Sheds and gazebos
  • Air Conditioning
  • Carports
  • Decks
  • Electrical alterations, changes or additions
  • Fences or retaining walls
  • Garage doors
  • New single-family homes or duplexes
  • Rehabilitation of an existing structure
  • Remodeling and Additions
  • Roofs
  • Screen porches, patios or enclosures
  • Siding, soffits and fascia
  • Site grading, regrading
  • Swimming pools and spas
  • Tree removal
  • Water heaters, new water softeners
  • Windows and doors, even if they are the same size

Some Items that DO NOT require permits are:

  • Carpet, vinyl and tile flooring installation
  • Painting, paneling over existing walls, or wallpaper
  • Kitchen cabinets WITHOUT plumbing or electrical work

The State of Florida requires all construction to be done by licensed contractors. The only exception to this rule is that as an Owner of your home, you may obtain a permit. However, the homeowner cannot lease or sell that property for a year after the completion of the project.

If you would like more information about permits, you can pick up The Residential Permitting Guide, a Simple Guide to Building Permits for the Homeowner, at the City offices on Myrtle Ave.

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