Need a new roof or siding this year? Be very careful because you are no longer protected.
What Happened & Why
March 2018 is when the Department of Consumer Affairs “declassified” a lot of home improvements. As a result, permits are no longer required for a host of expensive, big ticket items like putting on a new roof or siding a house. Also included are installing alarm systems, outdoor irrigation, chimney lining, indoor sheetrock and replacing indoor plumbing fixtures. The reasons are ridiculous.
To save time. Contractors no longer have to file permits and wait for the OK to start the job.
To save money. Homeowners no longer have the pay for permits. So you get a job done quicker, perhaps contractors saving time can book another job and homeowners save a few hundred dollars. Sounds like a nice idea. It’s not.
A Disaster Awaits You
Because the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs removed the permit requirement for all of these home improvements, anyone can do them. Anyone. So how are you protected now? There is no permit filed so no town building inspector comes to see if the work is done correctly.
Because no permit is required, you can put on a new roof, vinyl side a house, install a sprinkler system, redo a bath all without a licensed contractor. Does this make sense? Can you tell if a roof or anything else here is being installed correctly?
God Bless the Tenafly Building Inspector
My husband and I bought a Tenafly home that needed a garage. So we saved up and added one. I was not a real estate agent then and knew nothing about these things. However I’d noticed roofs going on in the area and what my contractor was doing just didn’t seem right. Because this worried me, I called the Tenafly Building Department about it.
The Tenafly Building Inspector then, Bill Dunlop, called me back and was at my house in about 15 minutes. Bill stopped the work and had the contractor read the code on roofs out loud. The contractor had to remove everything and do it over correctly. Bill Dunlop saved me from a disaster. Permits are not your enemy. They protect you.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
How can you protect yourself if permits are no longer required for so many important things? You can go online for reviews. That can work but it isn’t a guarantee. There are nasty reviews at times from nasty people. Glowing reviews come from family or friends. It happens.
Call people you know for recommendations. You can call me at 201-741-8490 because I know good contractors. Be very careful of who you hire.
You can do something else. Bring this to the attention of your town. Ask them to pass an ordinance requiring permits. I bet you’ll win because all towns have lost those permit fees.
Excuses given for removing permits have no validity with me. While it may have good intentions, it has great potential to hurt you. So be very careful if you need a roof or something else on this list. Let me know if you need help.