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How to Close an Open Permit on a House

When buying or selling a home, it is crucial to ensure that all permits for renovations or additions have been properly closed. An open permit can cause complications during the sale process and may even result in legal issues. Closing an open permit on a house involves a series of steps that need to be completed diligently. In this article, we will guide you through the process of closing an open permit, helping you navigate any potential challenges along the way.

Step 1: Identify the open permit
The first step is to identify any open permits associated with the property. This information can usually be obtained from the local building department or code enforcement office.

Step 2: Contact the issuing authority
Once you have identified the open permit, contact the issuing authority to determine the necessary steps to close it. They will provide you with the required paperwork and guide you through the process.

Step 3: Schedule inspections
In most cases, an open permit will require inspections to ensure that the work was completed according to code regulations. Contact the building department to schedule the necessary inspections.

Step 4: Complete any outstanding work
If the inspection reveals any outstanding work, you will need to address it promptly. Hire a licensed contractor to rectify any issues and bring the property up to code.

Step 5: Gather required documentation
Collect all relevant documentation related to the work completed under the open permit. This may include architectural plans, invoices, receipts, and inspection reports.

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Step 6: Submit the paperwork
Submit the required paperwork, including the completed application, supporting documentation, and any applicable fees, to the issuing authority. Keep copies of all submitted documents for your records.

Step 7: Follow up
After submitting the paperwork, follow up with the issuing authority to ensure that everything is in order and to address any additional requirements or concerns they may have.

Step 8: Obtain the permit closure
Once all the necessary inspections have been completed and the paperwork has been processed, you will receive the permit closure. This document confirms that the open permit has been successfully closed.


1. What is an open permit?
An open permit refers to a permit that has been taken out for construction or renovation work but has not been officially closed.

2. Can I sell a house with an open permit?
It is not advisable to sell a house with an open permit as it can complicate the sale process and may deter potential buyers.

3. How long does it take to close an open permit?
The time it takes to close an open permit can vary depending on the issuing authority and the complexity of the work involved. It typically ranges from a few weeks to a few months.

4. What happens if I ignore an open permit?
Ignoring an open permit can lead to fines, penalties, and even legal action. It is crucial to address any open permits promptly.

5. Can I close an open permit on my own?
While it is possible to close an open permit on your own, it is recommended to seek professional assistance, such as hiring a licensed contractor or a permit expediting service, to ensure that the process is completed correctly and efficiently.

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6. Can I request an extension for an open permit?
Yes, in some cases, you can request an extension for an open permit if you require additional time to complete the necessary work. Contact the issuing authority to discuss your options.

7. How much does it cost to close an open permit?
The cost associated with closing an open permit can vary depending on the issuing authority and the specific requirements. Fees may include application fees, inspection fees, and any outstanding fines or penalties.

8. What if the previous homeowner did not close the permit?
If you have purchased a property with an open permit that the previous homeowner did not close, it becomes your responsibility to address the issue before selling the property.

9. Can I close an open permit without inspections?
In most cases, inspections are required to close an open permit. These inspections ensure that the work was completed correctly and up to code.

10. Can a title company close an open permit?
While a title company cannot directly close an open permit, they can assist with identifying any open permits during the due diligence process and guide you through the necessary steps to close them.

11. Is it possible to negotiate the cost of closing an open permit?
The cost of closing an open permit is typically non-negotiable, as it is set by the issuing authority. However, you may be able to negotiate any outstanding fines or penalties associated with the open permit.