Building codes change over time and for people who have owned their homes for a long time, they may not know if their home is out of code, and if so, does it matter. That’s one of the reasons why I always recommend a home inspection to my home buyers.

Building codes and violations can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and usually focus on issues that can affect the safety of the dwelling and its occupants. 

There are things to look for in both an existing house and a potential home such as:

  • Check for any permits on the home and always ensure any work done on the home includes permits. This information is usually listed in the Seller’s Disclosure. 

  • Test for hazardous materials such as asbestos or lead. These materials are common in older homes. If found, these need to be removed by professionals to avoid health issues from contamination. 

  • Poor bathroom ventilation is a big code violation. The humidity can lead to rot and mold which is expensive to remove and dangerous to the occupants’ health.

  • Shoddy electrical work is also common in older homes. Lack of grounded wires, spliced wires, and DIY repairs duct-taped together can be very dangerous.

Understanding code violations can help the homeowner to avoid issues. All this information is readily available through local jurisdictions and home inspectors can provide more explanations to help mitigate any problems.

Have you ever had to go back and get a permit on something that was built without a permit?