What to do if I inherited a property that had a room added without permits?

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What to do if I inherited a property that had a room added without permits?

The county now wants me to legalize the addition or have it demolished. Can they force me into it? I have no money to do either legalization or demolition. I have been receiving threatening letters from the county if I do not comply I will be penalized or put in jail but I cannot afford any of it nor can I sell the property (mother-in-law has a life estate there). What shall I do?

Asked on June 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have to comply or face the consequences. It does not matter that the unlawful addition was added by someone else and you inherited the home: the current owner of a home is responsible for ensuring that it is code compliant. So just as if you'd bought a house with an illegal addition, you'd have to bring it into compliance, so, too, do you have to bring the house you inherited into compliance.


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