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Question: What if I just don't get a permit/inspection and my house isn't up to "code"? (VA)

 
Posts: 32
Location: Central VA
urban chicken bike
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So, I live in Virginia. As far as I can tell the only thing that they *actually* care about is plumbing-- makes sense the state has an interest in maintaining healthy land and water and human waste plays a HUGE part in a healthy environment downstream. That said, Virginia code allows for an outhouse-- which tells me "anything goes".

So, let's say I have an outhouse that meets their requirements. But that's it. My house isn't up to code otherwise. What are they going to do? The power company won't hook me up? No problem. There is no city water anyways so that's a non-issue. As best as I can tell if you don't get a permit and you don't get the house inspected that is all that can happen, which is OK with me because we don't want electricity or water.

Am I missing something? I don't get the big stink about code. I hear about people trying to meet code with these eco houses but then when I look at the books I just don't see a problem with a house that isn't up to code. The only other thing is selling, but my land is where the money is, and my mortgage is a land mortgage not a house mortgage so it isn't a problem. And frankly, we don't ever plan on selling.
 
Posts: 29
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most towns have the legal precident to bar buildings deemed hazardous to the public. this is usually the pretense, legal or otherwise, that is used to get rid of pretty much any problem tenant or landlord. and there is little precident in fighting back against it. although there are usually some stories here and there, they tend to be hard to find. but it is possible to fight the man. contact local lawyers, advocates and activists involved in property rights fights. "occupy our homes" explored activism on this front, but they were too scattered, occupy trying to take on so many issues all at once. i was involved in some forclosure defense efforts. we didn't succeede, but there is always potential. gotta be strategic, and control the narrative. dont want to be the next waco or move commune. dont' brag and try to grow, UNTIL you have the power to defend yourselves, a communications infrastructure to control the public dialogue, and some level of public support to step up to help defend you, and engage in the public dialogue advocating for your success.
 
Posts: 60
Location: San Martin, CA
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I'm pretty sure this issue is really depends on your locality.  I think the biggest hurdle is bank financing of non-code complying property, which may be an issue if you want to sell your property.  I live in a county jurisdiction, and from what I can see there are a lot of non-permitted buildings around.  For instance, my neighbor's metal building is right up against the fenceline, so I doubt he permitted it because it doesn't meet setback requirements.  The guy I bought livestock panels from down the road has a neighbor with a huge unpermitted barn.  There are a lot of properties with occupied house trailers on it, and they are supposed to be only occupied for 6 months while a permanent abode is being built...  And this is Santa Clara County, California... most of which is Silicon Valley with very stringent municipal building codes!  
 
gardener
Posts: 6686
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The worst case I've ever seen was a house that didn't meet code was condemned and razed to the ground, even the foundation was gone when the government was through.

It would pay you to learn the laws about building code violations for not only your state but your county and city (if you live in a city these are folks to most worry about).

I live in the country, my county does not have any codes for outside city limits except for sewage, we meet the sewage code.
Our electric is over kill according to the electric company, they loved it when they came to hook us up.
I have three grounds total, one on the supply pole (ground wire is over sized as is the rod, I have two ground rods on the house with oversized wire since we are on top of the mountain and we do get lightening.)

 
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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In Spain they fine you tens of thousands of euros.

And then raze the building to the ground.
 
Ian Pringle
Posts: 32
Location: Central VA
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Judging by the county's website, I'm hoping that they tend towards not caring. We're still in the shopping process for this land and have ruled out two counties that are simply inhospitable to our plans.

Another option might be a yurt, but $20,000 for a structure that won't last just doesn't seem worth it when my plans call for just over $20,000 for the final building. I will give a call to the county we're currently shopping around in tomorrow and see what the deal is. I'd be okay with them saying that they won't recognize my structure, give the approval of it, let me have connections to the grid, or allow a mortgage for it. But I'm not sure I'm interested in a legal issue. At that point I'd probably just accept that fact that I'd have to live "rogue" on the land and just keep our current property as our "residence" albeit unoccupied and about 30 minutes from where we'd be doing the residing.
 
gardener
Posts: 3054
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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I think buying and selling is the big issue. I made 2 great purchases because of this. One was a coastal house listed for $70k. I offered $35k wirh "no inspection " and no financing (can close quickly).  I got it.
 
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