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Old 03-20-2010, 10:37 AM
36 posts, read 339,660 times
Reputation: 30


Hi folks,
Last September I moved into a single home that has a finished basement done by the previous owner. The basement did not have a bathroom, just dry wall and electrical wiring with a drop down ceiling. The electrical work seemed to be done professionally and properly. However, the previous owner never obtained a permit as he did not know he had to. When we bought the home, I didn't know much about needing a permit since I assumed he pulled one.
We appealed our taxes with the township this year since they assessed out home much higher than other houses in our neighborhood. I got a call from the township and inspector came to look at the house. He was a nice guy, walked through the entire house inside and outside in 5 minutes and was gone.

He never questioned or ask to see the CO/permit for the basement, and this was the township building inspector. Since he never asked, I wasn't going to be dumb and bring it up to him. This is about our tax appeal, not assessement of the house so the assessor never came out baffled me, instead the building inspector came out. I asked this reason and he said "sometimes the house could be a mess, or people built a deck without a permit." So that's when I kept quiet about the basement. He didn't think to care about the finished basement so I never brought it up.

I know my township requires a permit for finishing a basement, so will I get a fine later even though he never asked when he was here? I did not finished the basement myself, it was the previous owner or else I would have gotten the permit myself. There is nothing suspicious about the basement, just the previous owner finished it without knowing to get a permit. I just don't want to get dinged on....

This should be about my tax appeal instead of getting a permit right? I believe he's here to inspect for tax reasons not asking for permits later?

any comment will be a appreciated.
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Old 03-20-2010, 02:31 PM
425 posts, read 2,837,418 times
Reputation: 176
From my impression, it should be appraiser to come out to look at your house instead of inspector when you appeal your tax. I guess they might find something from your appealing. Additionally,
with finished basement, tax usually go higher. If your town is a small town, the inspector will find out that there is no permit for your basement. The staff in building department in my town knows every detail about my house. They even know when the addition, deck was added to the house or when the kitchen was renovated and who destroy it when it got foreclosed.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:47 PM
36 posts, read 339,660 times
Reputation: 30
Yes, I understand that. This is why I was baffled to why the inspector came out instead of the assessor. Usually during an tax appeal, it's the appraiser who comes out to estimate the true value of the house according to his opinion and what he writes down. The we can either go to court and settle the matter or negociate for a price in the middle.
However, my question still wasn't answered :-( I am very worried that I will get a letter of notification that I do not have a permit for the basement. But, I never built it from the beginning and I bought the house the way it came.
When they assessed our town, the previous owner was on travel most of the time, so the assessor never came into the house to see the value. Therefore, it was assessed at the worst case which was really high. Hence, why I filed for an appeal.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:04 PM
Location: New Jersey
478 posts, read 1,665,049 times
Reputation: 124
If your living in the house now..the town had to approve it (the CO)..so it comes down to the assessor only now.

To get a CO it has to be inspected by the towns building,plumbing,electrial and fire inspectors.

In my house 27 years...for 15 of those years in a row my house was never assessed (they never came)..results my taxes went double high..doubt they will go down. Some towns just use the way a area is..if same style almost on same amount of land they do skip years.

These days towns will be looking for every penny they can get..so the assessor will come every year now.

Last edited by carlo2009; 03-21-2010 at 04:26 PM..
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:09 PM
36 posts, read 339,660 times
Reputation: 30
hmm... I believe only the fire inspectors came to give us the CO when we bought this home.
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