Code Compliance

User Forum Topic
Submitted by FlyerInHi on March 31, 2016 - 9:10pm

You do some work inside your house, and some jealous neighbor files a code violation complaint, claiming you performed some unpermitted work.

The inspector requests access to do his investigation. Do you have to grant access?

The principle of it sounds unfair. Can the municipality compel you to grant access just on the basis of a complaint from a neighbor?

Do we live in a Gestapo type country where neighbors can snitch on neighbors and the government can enter your home?

What happens if you deny access to the inspector by saying there's no basis for the complaint?

Submitted by no_such_reality on April 1, 2016 - 5:47am.

I'm not a lawyer, ttbomk, without an emergency they cannot enter without a warrant. A warrant would be issue, if they persue it, based on some probable cause from something visible they can verify from the outside. New windows, second electric meter, addition of a door, etc.

Nothing Gestapo like if you do some work that requires a permit and you didn't obtain. Also nothing gestapo like if you converted a garage or something to 'living space'.

Of course, the key learning here is be part of the community and get along with the neighbors.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 9:22am.

I read the municipal code. The inspector has right of entry and if you deny access, he can obtain a warrant. But would a judge grant a warrant just based on hearsay?

NSR, you make it sound like homeowners who remodel are guilty simply based on neighbor complaints. People remodel all the time to gentrify and beautify, not to convert garages and create unsafe conditions.

Some people are just jealous of the newcomers.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 10:28am.

Hope the neighbor gets hit by a truck and ends up crippled for life.

Snitching twats deserve nothing better than the above.

And yes. We live in such a society. In a more civilized place, either the inspector or the neighbor could be paid a bit to go spank their monkeys somewhere else. But sadly, the US is honest about petty things, while being highly intrusive and disrespectful of privacy.

Submitted by NotCranky on April 1, 2016 - 10:31am.

I hate code compliance. I hate greedy selfish nimby people. Go live in a fricken HOA or CC&R community.

However, if they are doing actual damage to your property, like removing earth support from a retaining wall , or if there are shared interior walls where someone could do damage by starting a fire ….it could be tempting to want them "watched" by big brother. Never underestimate a humans ability to get frightened.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 10:49am.

I think FIH mentioned strictly internal improvements, not something that could hurt the neighbor. Sounds like his neighbor was just being a nosy twat.

Submitted by livinincali on April 1, 2016 - 11:00am.

Well how else is the government going to know you used the proper energy saving light bulbs and appliances. I seem to remember you advocating the government require people to upgrade inefficient devices with newer efficient ones.

It certainly sucks when that big intrusive government you wanted in place to make "Progress" gets in your way doesn't it.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:01am.

That brings up over interesting issues. What if someone calls and says you unregistered guns. Would the cops search the house?

There could be any number of reasons to inspect people's homes.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 11:04am.

^^^^

This is why we shouldn't REQUIRE specific energy efficiency numbers. Just tax the living chit out of "dirty" forms of energy production so that people will either want to:
(1) Increase their efficiency and reduce use or ...
(2) Elect to buy from clean providers (i.e. own solar system, renewable energy firms, nuclear energy).

Use tax policy at the energy-production or sale end to shape consumption. (Extreme poors would get a credit to offset add'l taxes at the low end.)

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:03am.

livinincali wrote:
Well how else is the government going to know you used the proper energy saving light bulbs and appliances. I seem to remember you advocating the government require people to upgrade inefficient devices with newer efficient ones.

It certainly sucks when that big intrusive government you wanted in place to make "Progress" gets in your way doesn't it.

No. You don't inspect people's houses. You mandate energy standards at the manufacture.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 11:05am.

^^^

Local code requirements for new renovation/construction can differ from what's allowed to be sold. So in your world, you need inspections.

As I said -- tax policy with exemptions for extreme poors is a better and minimally-intrusive solution.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:08am.

spdrun wrote:
I think FIH mentioned strictly internal improvements, not something that could hurt the neighbor. Sounds like his neighbor was just being a nosy twat.

This is a community in Las Vegas where there are lots of useless retired people who have too much iddle time. They are jealous of outside investors who bought all the foreclosures.

I will tell the inspector, no sorry and see what happens next.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 11:14am.

Doesn't Nevada have a reputation for lots of overly armed police with a propensity to violence? Hope you have a cheap front door ;)

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:16am.

For example, I know plenty of people who install new can lighting in their kitchens without electrical permit. So any neighbor can denounce you at anytime and you have to submit to inspection.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 11:25am.

Make sure the neighbors either love you, or are so afraid of you that they wouldn't make a peep.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:26am.

Why can't we set standards for GE, Samsung, and others to manufacture more efficient products. The replacement cycle takes care of getting rid of the old stuff.

No taxing or inspection necessary.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:36am.

spdrun wrote:
Make sure the neighbors either love you, or are so afraid of you that they wouldn't make a peep.

They don't love me any more, because the house is a rental.
They were hoping a "respectable" family would move in. At first, I told them it's a second home. They were fine with that, and they even asked me to join them in church.

Bitter old people are just the worse.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on April 1, 2016 - 11:50am.

We used to have an issue with the neighbor because the HOA told them we complained about their dog.

We never complained it was that the other neighbor who complained but wanted to blame us for doing it so they could still be friends etc... so they told the HOA to tell them it was us.

all kinds of crab goes on.

Also on a Condo, there was an issue with the next condo over but the HOA did not want to confront the guy for what ever reason so they sent the notice to us LOL.

Submitted by outtamojo on April 1, 2016 - 1:25pm.

FlyerInHi wrote:
spdrun wrote:
I think FIH mentioned strictly internal improvements, not something that could hurt the neighbor. Sounds like his neighbor was just being a nosy twat.

This is a community in Las Vegas where there are lots of useless retired people who have too much iddle time. They are jealous of outside investors who bought all the foreclosures.

I will tell the inspector, no sorry and see what happens next.

Install some chicken wire fence around your property and declare yourself a rancher then you can do whatever you want and all of Nevada's militia will protect you.

Submitted by njtosd on April 1, 2016 - 2:33pm.

FlyerInHi wrote:
spdrun wrote:
Make sure the neighbors either love you, or are so afraid of you that they wouldn't make a peep.

They don't love me any more, because the house is a rental.
They were hoping a "respectable" family would move in. At first, I told them it's a second home. They were fine with that, and they even asked me to join them in church.

Bitter old people are just the worse.

I wonder if the renters can (legally) allow an inspection? I could see your neighbors influencing them to do so, if there is the spite you describe. Might also result in them having the right to withhold rent..... I know very little real estate law - s

Submitted by NotCranky on April 1, 2016 - 3:00pm.

When I fought off my only citation, and it was a big one a grading thing. I had to fight like crazy. They gave me a stop work notice on the house I was building ,but I ignored it. I followed up every conversation I had with an email no matter if they answered them or not, mostly they did. I wrote Dianne Jacobs and told her I needed help with Code enforcement "shake down". A week later I got a letter dismissing everything. It took several months altogether.

A few points I made , first I said go they could get everybody else first.
I also said that I verified that it was exempt work but they said not when I had an open permit. I said it has nothing to do with my house. Kept saying get everyone else first. That seems to be powerful with the right amount of stubbornness. Put it in writing right away. Tell them to get everybody else first. All these code compliance people skip permits too , if they have any remodeling to do.

Submitted by bewildering on April 1, 2016 - 3:39pm.

njtosd wrote:

I wonder if the renters can (legally) allow an inspection? I could see your neighbors influencing them to do so, if there is the spite you describe. Might also result in them having the right to withhold rent..... I know very little real estate law - s

Yes. Renters are allowed to invite an inspector into a property. They can also contact the inspector to come look at the property. Pretty obvious why this is the case. Bad landlords not keeping their property maintained.

To the OP. I am surprised you want to do work without a permit in rental property. It is maybe an urban myth but I thought that non permitted work was occasionally used by insurance companies to deny liability coverage. Leaving the Landlord bankrupt.. It does not seem worth such a large risk to avoid a small payment for a permit.

Submitted by SDNative2 on April 1, 2016 - 4:27pm.

My tenants installed something illegal against code--and their lease--on my rental property. Something that anyone within a number of residences would have heard. I subsequently received a City administrative citation/fine, and my tenants had to remove it. Interestingly, a few weeks later, my elderly cancer-ridden neighbor adjacent to the rental learned that someone had reported her property for multiple code violations. This, even though the neighbor did not report them. A very mean thing to do to a senior citizen living in an old house in an old neighborhood. I'm guessing I know who started the drama...

Submitted by no_such_reality on April 1, 2016 - 5:09pm.

I hate over zealous code as much as the next person. I hate illegal garage apartments even more.

In between is a happy medium. Do you really need a permit to replace a shot water heater? I'd think not, many cities disagree with me.

I've had great neighbors and I've had schmuck neighbors. Really don't like the schmucks.

But really, I'm like the other already pointing out, really laughing at your reaction when the big government dictation you always pander for gets directed your way.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 6:58pm.

SDNative2 wrote:
My tenants installed something illegal against code--and their lease--on my rental property. Something that anyone within a number of residences would have heard. I subsequently received a City administrative citation/fine, and my tenants had to remove it. Interestingly, a few weeks later, my elderly cancer-ridden neighbor adjacent to the rental learned that someone had reported her property for multiple code violations. This, even though the neighbor did not report them. A very mean thing to do to a senior citizen living in an old house in an old neighborhood. I'm guessing I know who started the drama...

That's funny.... "I'm guessing I know who started the drama"
The unpermitted doesn't to be recent. I could have been there when the owner bought the property.

In my case, it's not about building code violation, it's about alleged interior unpermitted work. Seems like snitches can say whatever and the inspector will request access. Of course, if you deny access, there is no proof of violation. Of course the inspector can get a warrant.

Submitted by joec on April 1, 2016 - 7:04pm.

no_such_reality wrote:

But really, I'm like the other already pointing out, really laughing at your reaction when the big government dictation you always pander for gets directed your way.

Gotta agree here. I forget what work/job you do FiH, but in the end, I think everyone is just looking out for their own wallet/skin/life...

Immigration probably isn't a negative in your life/whatever you do and would probably be a positive for rentals (more demand) so your views probably tilt towards that direction. It's not really about the issues of what is better/worst for the overall environment/society, but ultimately, what makes it better for us and our family financially.

Just the type of world we live in I think...

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 7:39pm.

no_such_reality wrote:

But really, I'm like the other already pointing out, really laughing at your reaction when the big government dictation you always pander for gets directed your way.

Maybe you missed some of my comments before about urban development. I like organic unplanned growth and I'm against zoning.

I'm for broad policies that improve our lives; fiscal and monetary policies that increase economic activity. I'm for welcoming immigrants, multiculturalism, and building a society that is connected to the world.

I'm against a police state or social structures, or urban planning that enforce stifling conformity and uniformity.

If you think about it, real estate development in the US is like communist 5-year plans, 10-year plans... Hyper regulated, subject to community review (your neighbors can veto your plans), enforced by government cadres, etc...
where is freedom and property rights?

I wish we could build things like this on the cheap.
http://www.contemporist.com/2016/03/28/l...

Submitted by ltsddd on April 1, 2016 - 8:32pm.

If your renovation did not violate any of the building code then why not just let them inspect and they'll be on their way? If you're going to play hard-ball with them, then be prepared if they return the favors. I am sure just like the vehicular codes there a plenty of things that they could find is wrong with your unit from the outside.

Submitted by spdrun on April 1, 2016 - 9:20pm.

I hate over zealous code as much as the next person. I hate illegal garage apartments even more.

Why are they any of your God damned business, as long as they're not making excessive noise or parking in your driveway? Live and let live.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on April 1, 2016 - 9:24pm.

Wait. I can't live in my garage?

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 1, 2016 - 11:43pm.

ltsdd wrote:
If your renovation did not violate any of the building code then why not just let them inspect and they'll be on their way? If you're going to play hard-ball with them, then be prepared if they return the favors. I am sure just like the vehicular codes there a plenty of things that they could find is wrong with your unit from the outside.

It's the principle of it. Maybe I did perform unpermitted work that could well conform to building code.
90% of houses have some form of unpermitted work. You fish cable inside the wall to hang you flat screen tv on the wall and that requires a permit.

I will wait 'til the inspector writes me a letter and politely tell me no because he's just the middle guy between neighbors who don't like one another.

I need to go and get a copy of the complaint because it's public record. Don't know if the neighbor filed anonymously.

I wonder if there is a case against the neighbor for trespass, and invasion of privacy for looking in the windows. Who does that?

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