Do I Need a Permit to Remodel My Condo?

by Shelley Frost
Workers are installing plasterboard (drywall) for gypsum walls in apartment is under construction, remodeling, renovation, extension, restoration and reconstruction

Condo life gives you the best of both worlds: You're a homeowner, but you don't have to worry about all the exterior upkeep that comes with a single-family home.

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But you still might want to do some updates and remodeling inside your condo, which might leave you wondering whether you need a county permit to remodel a condo. The answer could vary depending on what project you're doing and where you live.

What Type of Permit Do You Need to Remodel a Condo?

What permits are required for remodeling condos? You'll need specific permits based on the work you're doing. In general, you'll need the same types of permits for a condo that you would for a single-family home renovation. If you're having your condo rewired, you'll need an electrical permit. Your city or county decides on permit requirements, so start there to determine what types of permits you'll need. If you hire a contractor to do the work, they'll typically pull the required permits for you.

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Does It Matter What Types of Work You're Doing?

Is a building permit needed for an in-condo remodel? That depends on the type of work you're doing. You'll likely need a building permit for any major renovation, especially if it involves the condo's structure. Some common renovations that require a permit include:

  • Structural changes
  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing work
  • HVAC systems
  • Major kitchen remodels
  • Major bathroom remodels

Can You Remodel a Condo Without Getting a Building Permit?

You don't need a condo remodel permit for every type of renovation. Simple projects that don't involve the structure or plumbing and electrical systems likely don't need a permit. This could include painting walls, replacing kitchen cabinets and other cosmetic projects. However, every jurisdiction is different, so it's always a good idea to check with your local building department to be sure.

What happens if you're supposed to get a permit for a remodeling project, and you don't? No one will knock on your door immediately and haul you off to jail. But you might face some serious consequences down the road. For example, say a renovation you did without a permit causes an issue in your condo, and you file an insurance claim. Your insurance company might deny the claim if you did the work without a permit. You could also have trouble selling your condo if you did work with no permit.

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How Much Do Permits Cost for Condo Remodeling?

The cost of getting a permit to remodel a condo can vary, depending on where you live and what type of building permit you need. According to Fixr, the average cost of a building permit ranges from $450 to $700 (CAD 600 to CAD 930), but you could spend a lot less or a lot more. Here are some examples of types of building permits and what they might cost:

  • Bathroom remodel: $150 to $1,000 (CAD 199 to CAD 1,330)
  • Kitchen remodel: $150 to $900 (CAD 199 to CAD 1,197)
  • Plumbing: $50 to $400 (CAD 66 to CAD 532)
  • Electrical: $50 to $500 (CAD 66 to CAD 665)
  • HVAC: $80 to $1,000 (CAD 106 to CAD 1,330)
  • Water heater: $100 to $1,000 (CAD 133 to CAD 1,330)

If you hire a contractor to do the work, they'll likely handle all aspects of the permits. They'll work the cost of the permit into the total amount they charge you for the work, so it won't be a separate expense.

Does the Condo HOA Have a Say in Remodeling?

If you live in a condo, you likely have an HOA that rules over the building. When you buy a condo, you agree to follow their covenants. You likely received a copy of all the rules when you moved in. It's common for HOAs to require approval before you make any changes to your home. This is separate from a building permit, which is issued by the city, county or state. Check the HOA documents to find out if you need permission before you make changes to your unit.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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