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Thread: Garage Conversion/Property Tax issues

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Talking Garage Conversion/Property Tax issues

    I want to drywall (with insulation) the garage walls, paint wood rafters, Epoxy floor-Install 2nd picture window and hang art and stuff on walls with some furniture. I will
    leave the automatic garage door as is. I have plenty of electrical outlets and plumbing (from washer dryer). Im unsure where to start...

    My real question is---What can I do without getting permits? How far can I go without getting in trouble with the taxman? I.E. adding another room in residence. I live in Southern Kallyfornia and our property taxes are very low in many cases as is mine.
    Last edited by Mike50; 08-29-2009 at 03:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    In San Diego, you could insulate and drywall without a permit. Installing a window would need a permit, as would ANY plumbing or electrical work.

    First, let me say you would be far from the first to "convert" a garage like this. Now let me tell you all the things that are not kosher:

    1) Chances are you would violate zoning if you do anything which would prevent a car from being put in the garage. City zoning usually specs. parking requirements on site, and the garage is part of that. Keeping the big door gives you a loophole on that one.

    2) You could not legally have sleeping in that space if there is a gas water heater located there.

    3) You could not legally install anything resembling a kitchen, as that would be prima facie evidence of a second rentable unit on premise, and that would require a zoning change or conditional use permit.


    If you keep a low profile, this kind of thing flies under the radar all the time, unless you have ticked off a neighbor, who will drop a dime on you to neighborhood code compliance. Then, once the city gets interested, the tax man also gets interested.

    I recommend keeping everything above board.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Great reply. Thanks Jimbo--you always come through. I live in what is classified as a "Rustic" community. Semi-rural if you will. So a wink and a nod is common I believe. However I'm not going to push the envelope to far. That's good news about the drywall--but I'll check to be sure in my county...Mike

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    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Don't leave construction material out in the driveway
    Bring it in the garage "under cover of dark"
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    Don't leave construction material out in the driveway
    Bring it in the garage "under cover of dark"
    Heh heh. Gotcha...

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    A closer inspection reveals that I have electrical outlets on every wall....and a phone jack. I think the previous owner may have been doing more than changing the oil there.

    Can I have a large "Wash Basin" installed next to the washer and dryer without a permit?
    Also I need to see some picture to get some ideas of what others have done--any recommendations??

  7. #7
    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    pool table
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

  8. #8
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike50 View Post
    Can I have a large "Wash Basin" installed next to the washer and dryer without a permit?
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    In San Diego, you could insulate and drywall without a permit. Installing a window would need a permit, as would ANY plumbing or electrical work.
    I think you have your answer
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

  9. #9
    In the Trades jnaas2's Avatar
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    Just remember in a lot of areas they can fine you severly and make you tear out everything that was done without a permit. Some inspectors get a little testy if they think you are trying to pull a fast one on them. Also on most disclosure forms when you sell the house they ask if any work was done without a permit

  10. #10

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    The disclosures vary from state to state, widely. Just so you know, I am a licensed R.E. agent.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    I think you have your answer
    Right. Well I'll have my plumber install a basin then in place of the dryer. Don't really need a dryer in the desert.

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