Can a Building Inspector Arrest You?

In previous posts we defined building permits and talked about when they are necessary.

failure to get building permitWhat happens if you build or renovate without securing a required permit? The answer varies because the law that applies to the project varies. But, generally speaking, a building official could issue a stop order and the owner and/or contractor could be subjected to criminal and civil actions. Monetary penalties often accrue on a “per day” basis. So they may become substantial very quickly, especially in relation to what it would have cost to get the permit in the first place. What’s more, there is also the potential that the property will have diminished market value. Raise your hand if you’d like to buy property that you knew wasn’t inspected as required.

Can a building inspector arrest someone who does not obtain a permit? A building official can issue and seek legal orders that, if not complied with, may ultimately result in an arrest by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Remember: the job of building officials and inspectors is to help ensure that construction projects are completed according to certain safety standards. As Ben Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Get the permit when required.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

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