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“But I bought it this way”: Dealing with a Work Without Permit Order on a property you purchased

Dealing With A Work Without Permit Order

“But I bought it this way”: Dealing with a Work Without Permit Order on a property you purchased

One of the most important things to do when you are buying a property is check that the home matches the plans on file with the City. This is vital because, if the plans do not match, there are likely renovations to the house that have been conducted without a permit, meaning once you purchase the property, you are at risk of being hit with a Work Without Permit Order.

How can I get a Work Without Permit Order when I bought the house this way?

The City is not concerned with who did unpermitted work on a home, just that the work has been done.

Whether you knew about the unpermitted work or not when you bought the property is not the City’s concern. It is considered your responsibility to check the house against its plans.

If you own the property, you receive the Work Without Permit Order – and are responsible for resolving the situation.  

I have gotten a Work Without Permit Order on a house I bought. What are my options now?

A Work Without Permit Order or a Stop Work Order is a criminal offence, so the first thing you need know is that you cannot ignore it and hope it disappears.

There is also no way to have the Order rescinded. So how do you resolve the situation?

There are two options you can approach. You can undertake renovations to bring the house back in line with its plans and/or up to code, or you may have to tear out renovations that have already been done. In some cases, this work can cost close to $100,000.

We have had clients who have tried to find other ways around a Stop Work Order. For example, one client decided to sell his home instead of undertaking renovations. The problem with this is that the Order remains attached to the home – and must be disclosed to potential buyers. This means you will likely be unable to sell or will have to do so a radically reduced price.

If you are dealing with a Stop Work Order or Work Without Permit Order, the best choice is to contact a Designer to discuss your situation in depth and receive professional advice about the most cost-effective way to move forward.

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