Re: How did the city know about the improvements? - Posted by Frank Chin
Posted by Frank Chin on April 10, 2010 at 07:18:58:
I discovered how it came about after I met another inspector doing the “gas” inspection at my rental that I mentioned in my post above.
I recall that inspector did not come to check my particular house, but a complaint about an illegal apartment up the street from me. This inspector I was talking to asked if I had extra doorbells, or mailboxes indicating another unit in the building.
The answer was yes.
The house I live in is a legal two family, and I only had a doorbell by my door, and the tenants unit on the side. However, I installed new mailboxes when I moved in, for myself and for the tenant, but because I subscribe to a lot of magazines, the mailbox was two small, so I installed yet a third larger one.
I was told by this guy that the inspector on the street thought I’m renting out a third illegal unit. I actually have an extra kitchen, which was there, but not using it.
I heard later that complaints got the inspector to the unit down the street, as is often the case, neighbors get angry when illegal units are added, particularly to working couples, and they both have cars taking up parking spaces in front of other peoples homes. Some neighbors would speak to you first out of courtesy, and some call code enforcement right away.
In fact, at the house that I had the complaint about the illegal kitchen, some years later, I hired a licensed contractor to cement part of my back yard, and in the middle of it, the police came by to see if the I had a permit. But by co-incidence, the officer was a friend of the contractor, joked around, and then mentioned that someone on the street called, and told him not to worry.
Another way illegal jobs are discovered is when the contractors tries to dispose of waste material. In the kitchen job I did without a permit, I had walls taken down, with plenty of debris. One tipoff to nosy neigbors is an on site dumpster, so if you do jobs with no permits, dont’ get a dumpster, because sometimes they just sit there if the company you hired is backed up.
My dad did a job, and the dumpster sat there for three long months.
The contractor I used, used to jobs with no permits, keeps containers and boxes of debris in my garage, and when city sanitation trucks come along, (twice a week) he and his helpers rush out, pay the city sanitation men a few dollars, and dump the stuff in themselves. The remainder was taken away at the end by van to the local dump.
I saved the rental on the dumpster, but paid a few dollars in bribes.
Finally, my wife opened the door when the inspector came to my house, he rushed by her, and down the basement. I’ve been told since that she could’ve not allowed him in. Not long ago though, I read in the local papers that the city council was considering stiff fines for owners not allowing inspectors in to check, particulaly when he finds extra mailboxes, doorbells or complaints from neighbors.
BTW, I took down that extra mailbox, so I won’t have unexpected visits.