Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is a C.O. ?
CO stands for “Certificate of Occupancy” and it is the final document issued by the Building Department for your completed structure or alteration.
2) Do I need a permit (or C.O.) for something that was here when I bought the house?
Yes, if the previous owner did not apply for the permit, the responsibility now lies with you.
3) Did my title search company verify ALL of the structures existing on my property BEFORE I closed on my home?
Existing residential alterations, small additions and accessory structures are often overlooked.
4) If my contractor was licensed, didn’t he have to get my permits in order to build?
Engaging the services of a licensed and insured contractor is important, but applications for building permits still need to be made with the homeowner’s signature and knowledge.
5) If my contractor shows me a permit, how do I know if he completes the inspections and paperwork with the Town?
You MUST insist that all “inspection reports” be given to you once the contractor has met with the inspector; there are many steps necessary for the completion of your CO.
6) How will my taxes be affected once I legalize a structure?
You need to contact your local municipality to verify whether your property value will be re-assessed in relation to the improvement made on your home.
7) I want to start building in a month…can you get my permit in time?
Permit processes differ with each Town or Village, and it is also relative to the size of the renovation. It is often possible to obtain a permit within a few weeks.
8) I have a closing date to sell my home within the next three months…can you get my C.O. in time?
It is possible to obtain a CO within that time, but it depends upon the alteration or addition made and the requirements of the municipality in which you live.
9) Can you design my addition and get the permits to start construction within a few months?
It is very possible to design an addition or alteration, obtain a permit and begin construction within a few months; it all depends upon the square footage of the new space and parties involved in making the decisions.
10) Do I need to legalize my Accessory Apartment if I’m about to sell the house…? Can’t I let the next owner deal with it?
You may lose potential home buyers if you don’t have all of your CO’s documented and in order.