Garage Conversion/Property Tax issues

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Mike50, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    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: Aug 29, 2009
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    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. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    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
  4. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    Don't leave construction material out in the driveway
    Bring it in the garage "under cover of dark" :D
  5. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Heh heh. Gotcha...
  6. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    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. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    pool table
  8. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    I think you have your answer
  9. 3m

    3m New Member

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    NY
    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. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    The disclosures vary from state to state, widely. Just so you know, I am a licensed R.E. agent.
  11. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    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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