Inspection Series #3: City Occupancy Home Inspections

When selling your home one type of home inspection is a city occupancy inspection, sometimes referred to as a City Occ. While not required in every city, some use this inspection to check that a house is up to code and meeting safety standards.

The focus of city occupancy inspections is not to require sellers to upgrade every single thing up to the most current code.  The first goal is to insure each house within the city is safe and habitable.  This means checking for the right number of smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors, missing stair railings or hazardous materials.

Pasadena City Occupancy Inspections

Pasadena Permit Office – 175 North Garfield Avenue

While checking for code violations, inspectors will check what has been upgraded recently in the home.  Some examples of this are adding another bedroom in the garage or adding a HVAC system.  If you have completed a renovation then current codes would apply for that area of the house.  If no renovations have been done then sometimes things against code are “grandfathered” into the home.  This does not always apply however, so in order to save yourself time fixing your newly upgraded home, check with the city before starting any renovations.

Another tip is to always, always, ALWAYS fill the proper permits when upgrading or renovating a property.  City Inspections sometimes reveal that the contractor or owners cut corner by not filing for a permit.  Sometimes this is easier to fix than others.  In certain situations the worse case scenario is that the city will require you to undo the renovation before selling your home.  Sometimes people will build another room in the house, and because the city cannot see threw walls to know it was done properly, they will ask you to tear down the whole room!  A city requires permits to ensure the safety of residents for years to come.  So while it might be annoying to file a permit now, requiring the current owner of your future home to file a permit protects you in the future.

If having work completed by a contractor, it is important to ensure verify a permit is completed.  If a contractor is taking care of a permit for you, ask to see a completed permit.  This will be helpful to have on file one day if you sell.  They city will also maintain these records but when working with permits you can never be too careful.

San Marino City Compliance Certificate

San Marino City Hall – 2200 Huntington Drive

City occupancy home inspections demonstrate the importance of having a local Realtor aid your home selling process.  It can be ambiguous if your city will require a home inspection or not.  We work in a few cities that require them.  For listings in Pasadena and San Marino, CA your agent will know when is the appropriate time to schedule these inspections, how long it will take, and what it will cost.

Because of our experience, we know common violations and can alert our clients – before the inspector even arrives.  As we are not experts on city codes, we cannot guarantee that this will make for a flawless inspection.  However this does help eliminate many things our clients would be unaware off but we see frequently like smoke detectors.

One thing that San Marino, CA does different than most other cities is that the contract out their inspections.  While you must go to City Hall and fill out proper paperwork, you also have to contact an authorized inspector from their list to inspect a home before selling.  While completing the general home inspection the contracted inspector checks for city violations on behalf of San Marino.

– Kesley Robison and The Parsons Team

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.