Do You Need a Permit to Finish a Basement?

  • By: Promise
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Yes, you need a permit to finish a basement. The permit will certify that the basement is worthy of human habitation. You need to submit surveying plans and other related building documents of the finished and unfinished areas of the basement to the building authorities for approval.

When is a Basement Considered to be Finished?

A basement is considered finished when you have all parts of the basement complete or brought to completion. A basement is also considered finished when the upstairs of the basement which is the living area is also completed.

A basement is considered to be finished when all electrical wirings and fittings, heating system, finished floor, completed stairways, good ceilings, and the entire walls have been fixed. 

Without your basement coming up to this level, it is not and would not be considered to be a finished basement.

Do You Need a Permit to Finish a Basement?

Permits are as important as anything, this is because with a permit anything you are doing is considered legal, but without a permit, it is considered to be illegal and can be terminated or truncated at any time without notice or compensation.

This is not different when it comes to your basement, you would need to visit your local building authorities to show all necessary documents that would certify that you are the owner of the place where you want to have the basement built.

Also, your plans and surveys are in synch with their regulations, and finally, obtain a permit to finish up your basement.

What You Need to Apply for Permit to Finish a Basement

The following must be handy before going to apply for your permit to finish the basement:

  • The building drawing or design. This is very important because when they look at your building planning they would know if you are good to go or not. And take note that your building plan must show smoke detectors, all rooms, all wirings, plumbings, etc.
  • Have the money to pay for the inspection and for the permit fee. This differs from place to place, as every country has different amounts charged for such at any time.
  • The next thing that must be carried out in various stages of inspections at the process of the building before the completion. This is done immediately after the permit has been issued or granted. And the inspections include and are not limited to the framings, all plumbing works, and all electrical works in the basement.

Is It Illegal to Finish a Basement Without a Permit?

Yes, it would be considered illegal to finish a basement without getting a permit. This is because there are already stated laws by building authorities that mandate every building including the basement to get a permit to make it legal for people to stay.

If you did not get a permit for such then you have boycotted some processes which are illegal and would attract some penalties and punishment that would be more harmful to you and the occupants of the space.

In order to avoid such, it is better to do the right thing at the right time which is getting a permit to start your basement and to finish it certifying it worthy for people to live in.

Remember that when a basement is completed with a permit, it makes it legal for you to rent out such a basement.

Consequences of finishing a Basement Without a Permit

Consequences of not obtaining a permit before finishing a basement are:

1. Insurance Challenges

Insurance is a good thing when it comes to investment because, with it, you are sure of getting something back in the end.

But when you have your basement finished without obtaining a permit, then you will have issues and challenges when it comes to insurance, because you will in turn need to present the same permit to the insurance company for them to know you had the legal right of the state to own such a basement.

2. Difficulties in Selling the Basement

No one would buy a basement that has no permit because people in turn know the consequences attached to doing so. This means that you would not be able to sell the basement in the future.

3. Tax Demurrage

After building your basement without getting a permit, you would be required to pay some demurrage that would have accumulated as a result of not doing the right thing at the right time.

If you stay longer without obtaining the permit the demurrage would keep increasing and this is to say that you cannot run away from it.

Can I Get a Permit for Already Finished Basement?

Yes, you can get a permit for an already finished basement. In most cases, this happens when you have moved into the house and later found out that such a place doesn’t have a permit.

What you need to do is to contact your local authorities and give them details of what happened. With it, they would issue you a permit after some due process and diligence with inspection might have been carried out on the basement.

Can You Remodel the Basement Without a Permit?

You would need to obtain a permit before remodeling a basement. This is because you have to go through some processes and at the same process fill out some architectural documents and DOB if necessary.

Despite the fact that many times remodeling is not evident and it can be done secretly without anyone knowing what had happened, good things are worth doing well, you would need to get a permit to remodel your basement.

Final Thoughts

Without a permit everything done is considered to be illegal, it would be very necessary and good to go through the right process to obtain a permit for your basement.

If you are starting it out new, remodeling, or moving into it, and finding out that there is no permit, do the right thing and consult the right authorities for a permit for that basement. Doing so will save you much stress you may encounter in the future living there without a permit.

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