3. Keeping the garage conversion legal
Generally, with converting a garage to a room, you will need
a building permit. After the permit to build is approved, there will eventually be at least one inspection.
The inspector will have a long list of things to approve or disapprove (from quality of the basic
construction to safety issues like the presence of required smoke detectors).
You will be facing the same legal requirements as if you were building an addition. If building a mother-in-law suite or a guest house, that could also
change your zoning and property taxes from single-family to multi-family.
Are covered parking spaces required?
The most unique legal issue for garage conversions is that, in some places, there is
a requirement to maintain a minimum amount of off-street, covered parking. In other neighborhoods,
you will see lots of people parking on the street or in their driveways (with no garage or carport).
Do you know if there is a rule where you live that requires covered parking?
In that situation, if you remove the functionality of the current garage, is there room on the property
to legally build a new carport or garage (and can you afford to do that within the time that the
law requires, like 6 months)? If not, then another option will be to just "go up,"
like adding a second-story addition over the garage or even just raising the ceiling of the
garage to make room for a loft with sufficient headroom.
Unpermitted garage conversions
Ideally, you will want to confirm that you can have a fully legal conversion
before beginning the conversion of the garage. Unpermitted conversions can result in
fines, will not be covered under most home insurance policies, and can complicate the
sale of the home. (We can help with bringing an unpermitted conversion "up to code" or even
even help you with legal loopholes that will allow you to avoid legal complications.)
Final thoughts on legal garage conversions
You will be able to find a variety of content online about garage
conversions (and keeping them legal). People who may have some
experience with these issues, in addition to builders, are realtors and of course
real estate lawyers.
Everyone has their insights (& also their biases). Next is a comment from a
rather neutral company (that sells spiral staircases that are often used in garage lofts):
"The best way to renovate your garage... is to hire a contractor. Many homeowners
have become ambitious over the years and have started to make their home renovations
DIY projects. This is easy for simple projects, like painting [the walls]....
However, a full garage conversion can quickly become complicated.... You will need to meet building
code and it will have to pass
inspection." - "
converting a garage
For more info on all the steps that may be relevant to your garage conversion, click the image below:
RELATED TOPICS: What if I already have an unpermitted garage conversion?
What renovations to my garage are legal without a permit?
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