Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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Amnesty offered for home improvements done without permits

Do-it-yourself builders who remodeled a bathroom or added a bedroom to their house without acquiring the necessary permits will get a chance to come clean without facing any penalties during May.

Six local governments are participating in the work-without-a-permit amnesty program, which forgives any penalties for non-permitted residential work as long as the homeowner pays the fees for the proper permits and other associated costs.

Fees for residential-related construction range from $60 to $400, but can quickly escalate if the homeowner is found to have done the work without a permit.

In Clark County, unpermitted work is charged triple the original fee, plus double the hourly rate for an on-site inspection.

The county investigates about six unpermitted projects a month, usually after they’re reported by neighbors, spokesman Erik Pappa said.

During last year’s amnesty program, which lasted three months, 127 people took advantage and reported projects to the county, he said.

The most common unpermitted residential projects include garage conversions, room additions, patio covers and water heater installations.

Other residential work requiring a permit includes:

• Interior or exterior alterations

• Kitchen or bathroom remodeling

• Electrical or plumbing work

• Block wall repairs, installations or replacements

• Furnace and air conditioning replacement

• Self-contained hot tub installations

• Fences greater than six feet in height

• Sheds greater than 120 square feet

• Retaining walls up to four feet in height

To apply for the amnesty program, homeowners should contact the building department for the jurisdiction the property is in to obtain the needed permit forms.

Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite are all participants in the program.

Work submitted for review must be up to current code or have been allowed under the code of record at the time of installation.

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