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Carports built without permits

Building officials are constantly trying to get people to get permits for structures built without them.  This becomes tricky when the construction occurred decades ago.  In Austin recently there was a crackdown on illegal carports.  Many of the owners didn’t own the properties at the time the illegal work was done.  This is always a problem because when the construction occurred years ago, the statute of limitations has run and the current owners can’t be charged with working without a permit.  If a structure was built contrary to the building code, there might be the possibility of charging the owner with occupying a structure without a certificate of occupancy.  Most towns try to get voluntary compliance, even waiving fees.  The goal is to make sure the structures are safe and code compliant.  But, when there is a widespread enforcement action, local officials should expect forceful opposition from homeowners.  When I encounter a problem like this, I like to do an education campaign first.  My recommendation is to notify the owners of the problem but explain why compliance is important for their sake.  I’ve found that this approach often gets compliance for 90% of the illegal structures.  It shows the court that you’re reasonable and that you’ve tried everything before starting enforcement action.  You’ll always end up with some people who don’t believe anyone can tell them what to do to their property but, thankfully, they are in the minority.

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  1. July 18th, 2011 at 16:04 | #1

    I agree that safety is the main concern, but there are a lot of things you do not need a permit for that are way more dangerous. Thanks for this post.

  2. April 28th, 2016 at 23:14 | #2

    I didn’t realize you need a permit to build a carport. My husband and I want to have one built and I thought we could just hire a contractor to come and do it without any issues. Now that I know this, I am going to look into how to get one in my area.

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