Author Topic: City Inspectors  (Read 4399 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline yazmonium

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
City Inspectors
« on: February 21, 2014, 11:24:35 PM »
I am looking at buying a house in Berwyn and I am wondering if anyone has any city building inspector experiences to share.  If you have a story, please post it.

Offline yazmonium

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 11:27:47 PM »
Well, here is the story so far:  The inspector cited 17 code violations.  2 have to do with a pool that I am going to get rid of anyway.  11 items are easy to fix - paint, fix broken windows, cover bare light bulbs, put up easy to read address numbers, fix GFCI plugs in kitchen, install smoke detectors, etc. Then there are the tough ones.  The electrical panel is 60 years old and needs to be replaced.  Then there is something about egress windows need to be installed.  Not sure which windows they are referring to, but it sounds problematic.  The previous owners put a second bathroom in the laundry room and the city says that's not allowed.  What an odd rule.  And they put Romex in the attic to run a whole house fan.

The nice lady at the compliance dept tells me that with a list like this, I will probably have to give them $1500 that they can hold as a guarantee that I will cure the citations.

Part of the reason my wife and i decided on a house in Berwyn instead of a condo in Lakeview was to escape the maddening CC&R's that home owners' associations force condo-owners to comply with.  How is this any different?

After I fix this stuff, I'll post again to let you know how the after-inspection went.

Offline buzz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Gender: Male
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 11:46:51 PM »

The nice lady at the compliance dept tells me that with a list like this, I will probably have to give them $1500 that they can hold as a guarantee that I will cure the citations.

I never heard of this before ?

Also, I did things in a totally different sequence than you when I bought.  I was independently inspected before and as a condition of the sale.  Then we negotiated the problems and costs.  Then, the City came in.  At any rate, good luck and keep us posted.
Why won't anyone believe it's not butter ?

Offline buzz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Gender: Male
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 11:52:39 PM »
  Then there is something about egress windows need to be installed.  Not sure which windows they are referring to, but it sounds problematic.
I think it's a window, usually in a basement, that can be kicked out and used as an exit, in the event of an emergency.  Do you have glass block in the basement ?
Why won't anyone believe it's not butter ?

Offline MRS. NORTHSIDER

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4159
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 12:49:22 AM »

The nice lady at the compliance dept tells me that with a list like this, I will probably have to give them $1500 that they can hold as a guarantee that I will cure the citations.

I never heard of this before ?

Also, I did things in a totally different sequence than you when I bought.  I was independently inspected before and as a condition of the sale.  Then we negotiated the problems and costs.  Then, the City came in.  At any rate, good luck and keep us posted.
I assume that this sale was one where you, the buyer, assumed responsibility for all code violations and repairs required by the city.  Possibly a short sale or foreclosure?  I also assume the money will be refunded when all the code violations are remedied.  As previously stated, most of the violations are easy fixes.  The rest are maybe not easy or cheap, but required.  A 60 year electrical panel probably does need to be upgraded and replaced when you consider the modern world (TV's, computers and such things) and how many electrical devices we use.  My daughters have been lethal with many high wattage hair dryers when it comes to tripping circuit breakers.  At least, all I have to go into the basement and flip a switch instead of starting a fire with a fuse box that is overloaded.  When my neighbors bought almost 14 years ago they had some kind of power surge soon afterwards that fried several expensive electronic devices on them.  As for the windows, I do believe it's probably about having glass block in the basement.  There have been way too many single family homes with the basements being used as living spaces which could be disastrous if a fire breaks out and there is only one exit (which may be blocked by the fire) and no windows you can get out of.  As for the bathroom, I would bet it was put in without a permit.  Welcome to Berwyn!

Offline yazmonium

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 01:24:59 AM »
Mrs Northsider, you essentially correct as to the circumstances.  There aren't glass blocks in the basement, but the windows are only a few inches above the ground level and may not open wide enough.  Or maybe a dugout needs to be excavated around the windows.

I actually consider myself lucky with this list.  I think the roof's end of life is nearing.

Offline mustang54

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3851
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 08:17:44 AM »
  The things they called on you would be called in any other town as well. The fifteen hundred dollars is like you said a sort of bond to make sure the work is done after the closing. If you fixed all the cited things before closing and passed the inspection you would not have to put up the money. Seen this scenario for many years in a lot of towns.

Offline buzz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Gender: Male
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 09:55:09 AM »

 There aren't glass blocks in the basement, but the windows are only a few inches above the ground level and may not open wide enough. Or maybe a dugout needs to be excavated around the windows.

A dugout ?  Please post more about this when you have the info.  I think it would apply to most every home on my block.
Why won't anyone believe it's not butter ?

Offline dukesdad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2268
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 10:11:50 AM »
Quote
A dugout


Perhaps he means a window well?

Offline buzz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Gender: Male
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 12:47:55 PM »
duh !  now I understand thanks
Why won't anyone believe it's not butter ?

justme

  • Guest
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 06:16:12 PM »
  The things they called on you would be called in any other town as well. The fifteen hundred dollars is like you said a sort of bond to make sure the work is done after the closing. If you fixed all the cited things before closing and passed the inspection you would not have to put up the money. Seen this scenario for many years in a lot of towns.

And $1500 escrow is nothing compared to a lot of other towns, trust me.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 06:25:22 PM by justme »

Offline buzz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Gender: Male
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 11:09:58 PM »
Yaz,  Check "MY MESSAGES" I sent you a message
Why won't anyone believe it's not butter ?

Offline Toria

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2014, 05:04:55 PM »
I just bought a two flat in Berwyn and will be going through the same thing.  I had a independent inspection and will have to do some electrical upgrades. 
Does anyone know what makes a bathroom in the basement a code violation?  My building has a room, I guess you could call it a bedroom but it has two large windows not glass block that someone could get out of.  There is a half bath attached to the room.  What would make this illegal?

Offline jfrickind

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 477
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2014, 08:59:54 AM »
Height of the ceiling? 

Offline mustang54

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3851
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2014, 11:25:16 AM »
  Most illegal basement baths are illegal because they were put in without permits. Therefore like  jf said it could be the heightof the ceiling, or a bunch of reasons. One most common is lack of a stack or proper venting. Just having a window isn't enough. Seen cases where before building can close the owner must remove the bathroom completely.

Offline Toria

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2014, 02:58:48 PM »
This looks to be ancient put in a long time ago as the tile is pink and black.  Hope we don't have to rip it out before closing.  I am not sure what rip out means...remove the toilet and seal it or just remove the room.  That could be quite costly.

Offline Bonster

  • Throbbing
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 18338
  • More ghetto, less politics
    • Fuck You I'm Drunk was written by Bondo!
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2014, 01:24:57 PM »
One most common is lack of a stack or proper venting.
Yep!  That was the primary reason I saw when house hunting 10 years ago - venting.  Not so much a window or exhaust fan issue, but the stack.   Every piece (toilet, sink, shower, etc.) has to be vented properly up to and through the roof.  For many homes it's very easy to connect to the existing drain pipes to add a bath, but running a vent pipe up multiple floors -- hopefully between walls so it's hidden -- is a huge hurdle (esp if you're not close to the main "stack").  I know - I did it myself

And yes, if a permit wasn't pulled and there's no record of it, you may not pass inspection.
Often you can obtain the permits and get the bathroom "fixed" so it's no longer in violation of code.  You may need to open up a wall for proof the plumbing and electrical is sound, but IMO it's well worth it.  Being able to officially list your place with an extra bath is quite significant. 

When I was house hunting, two homes in particular had small rooms in the basement with a sink, but no toilet, though a conspicuously open area with a toilet flange.  One person said they used to have a toilet there, but it "freaked them out having a bathroom in the basement."  LOL... Bullshit -- they failed inspection, so they removed it and re-listed the home as having only one bath!   (of course, you could just place a toilet there, later... but WTH... get it to code and increase the value of your property)
   ... "Shit ton of beer being served here soon!"

Offline Bonster

  • Throbbing
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 18338
  • More ghetto, less politics
    • Fuck You I'm Drunk was written by Bondo!
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2014, 01:29:14 PM »
This looks to be ancient put in a long time ago as the tile is pink and black.  Hope we don't have to rip it out before closing.  I am not sure what rip out means...remove the toilet and seal it or just remove the room.  That could be quite costly.

Years ago it just meant to remove the toilet and cover the flange.   You may have to open up the wall to prove sound plumbing/electrical if bringing it up to code.  Shouldn't be too expensive in the grand scheme of things.  Depending on the severity of violation, it would seem most of the work has been done.  Good luck.
   ... "Shit ton of beer being served here soon!"

Offline renovatorbear

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2014, 09:21:17 AM »
Regarding windows...we had a local window retailer in for an estimate, and were told that since our attic is finished as two additional bedrooms one set of the windows in a dormer (we have 3 dormers) would have to be horizontal sliders that would allow escape.  We haven't done the work yet. But I see more and more of those sliders in dormers around town.

Offline Toria

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: City Inspectors
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2014, 07:02:04 AM »
It would be kind of a shame to get rid of the bath as the basement, although only partially finished eons ago has a small "bedroom" with two windows that are big enough to open and for a person to get out.  It has a built in wardrobe in the room and an en suite bath with toilet, sink and shower.  It could be an office or guest room.  This is in a two flat.  Looks like stuff was put in pre 1950. Place is a bit of a time capsule.  Just nice to have a toilet there for people doing laundry so they don't have to run up to the second floor if nature calls.  Also the patio is right outside the basement...nice to have a close bathroom to go to.  I have no current plans to rent the room in the basement.  Don't even know if its legal.  And what do you know, today is the day the Berwyn inspectors are coming.  I won't be there but I will report back!

 

works