Boston condo renovations: Permit and non permit renovations

Boston Condo renovations can make your condo look great, but one of the downsides is that it can be difficult to alter a Boston condo. Since alterations can end up affecting the rest of the building, most condos have a rigorous permit system in place. However, if you don’t know this when you’re buying a Boston  condo for sale, you could end up selecting a property with several non permitted renovations. If you suspect any work performed on your Boston condo was not permitted, you should take the following steps to resolve the situation.

Research Permit Regulations

Boston condo owners often have far stricter permits than other homes. Brush up on the local laws for municipal permits and the requirements laid out in your condo association agreement. Carefully consider all this information to find out which parts of your condo may not be permitted.

Speak to an Attorney

It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer who can help you sort out confusing legal language. The lawyer can also let you know if you can sue the previous homeowner for the cost of dealing with the unpermitted work. If the issue was not disclosed to you before the sale, the owner may be liable.

Get an Inspection from the City

If a renovation requiring city permits was performed by someone else without the proper bureaucracy, you are not going to be held liable for not getting a permit. Talk to the local permit office or building department. In most cases, they will be more than happy to help you get an investigator to check your condo and tell you if you need to bring things up to code. If the work is up to code, you might not be on the hook for more than the cost of the inspection.

Talk to the Condo Association

Every Boston condo association is different, and the agreements you signed when closing on the property can make a big difference. In almost all cases, you will not be fined for non permitted work. However, you may be responsible for ensuring everything within your condo meets the regulations laid out in your agreement. It’s best to address the problem as soon as possible by speaking to the condo association.

Avoid Renting or Selling the Property

In most cases, non permitted work is not a huge inconvenience. You normally just need to fix up anything that is a danger to others in your condo building. However, keep in mind you cannot rent or sell the property without disclosing the issue to the buyer. If something goes wrong and the buyers can prove you knew about the problem and did not warn them, you could end up paying a hefty compensation. It’s not uncommon for non permitted work to be performed on downtown Boston high rise condo. It’s up to you to decide if you want to move forward with the purchase or not. One step you shouldn’t skip is working with a trusted local agent who can help you find your dream home. Call us today at 617-595-3712.

Boston condo owners: Questions and answers

Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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