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Getting permits under home owner's name vs contractor's

9 years ago

Hello again everyone!

What is the pros and cons for getting the permit to remodel
1. under your name (home owner)
2. under the contractor's name/company?

We may need to change the contractor and the current permit is under the contractor's name (his company). The city clerk said I need to get a "release" of the permit from the contractor, so that the permit can be transferred to the new contractor. I hope we don't have to change the contractor again. But for some bad reason we have to, this permit transfer can be avoided if the permit is under our (homeowner's) name.

But is there any downside to "owning" the permit? Is it then our responsibility to get the inspections scheduled and passed? What other responsibilities come with it?

p.s. I'm in the Los Angeles area.

Thanks very much.

Comments (15)

  • 9 years ago

    Being in the "L.A." area is a huge generalization and different cities will illicit different responses, as will you being in a county area.

    So, which city was the plan check and permit issued from?

  • 9 years ago

    What would be some of the differences based on the location?

    I also appreciate inputs from folks in other area. I can interpolate the answer or use it as a general reference.

  • 9 years ago

    I am sorry. I am a little careful about giving my geo location in public forum.

    Could you point out some of the differences between Lomita and Van Nuys (or cities you know of) in respect to these pros and cons? I fully understand these may not be applicable in my city. But this info will be very helpful point of reference when I visit my city's office to do the transfer.

    Thank you.

  • PRO
    9 years ago

    Have your new contractor pull the required permits.

  • 9 years ago

    The person holding the permits is the person responsible to the municipality for satisfying the inspection requirements. They are responsibile for any fines as well. And they are responsibile to the bank in order to be able to collect the next draw. If you pull the permits, then your name is the one they will go after for any issues that arise.

  • 9 years ago

    If you are in fact in an area controled the the Los Angeles County Dept. of Building and Safety, you can, against mine and others advise, permit the project yourself.

    The permit application contains a paragraph, requiring your signature, in which you assume all of the liabilities for assertaing the validity of any persons performing any trade related funtion of the project.

    You can affirm that you and your immediate family members, ONLY, will be preforming all of the trade tasks.

    However, government agencies have a low tolerance for repeated failed inspections and will asses additional fees.

    You can elect to permit and act as the general contractor, hire subs with the requirement that they permit their specific trade.

    This will insure the validity of their âÂÂCâ lic., their city lic, and insurance.

    Hiring subs will require numereous sets of the plans, to conduct a comprehensive bid process, as well as the review of those bids to insure their cmpletness.

    When you act as the general you can require the trades to schedule and stand their own inspection, or you can schedule and stand the inspections.

    As the general, you are required to schedule the trades, some of which will have a low tolerance for delays and mis-scheduling, IE. wasting their time.

  • 9 years ago

    Hi again, jyaanga!! :-)

    I am in cali but not in LA. We pulled our own permits and had no issues. However, we acted as our own gen contractor. The "pros" were that we were in control of our entire project including which subs were used. I cant see any advantage to pulling your own permits if you are using a general contactor. That, and everything thst goes along with it, are his/her responsibility. If you do not have confidence that the next contractor will survive without having to be replaced again, you might want to keep looking until you find one you have full confidence in.

  • 9 years ago


    For a novice, being your own "B" General is not a walk in the park.
    It becomes rather daunting, discovering, what you don't know and the time it actually takes, to CYA.

  • 9 years ago

    I appreciate what you are saying snoonyb. The OP asked for pros and cons. I relayed what I felt, from personal experience, were the "pros." In fact, I found no cons to acting as GC (pulling my own permits) on my project, but rather found the whole process to be quite satisfying. I even enjoyed my inspector!! :-). I never said it was for everyone. And the OP is planning to hire a GC so of course, whoever is acting as the GC should pull the permits.

  • 9 years ago


    The OP is asking for pros and cons of replacing the existing contractor, and acting as the general him/themselves.

    It was also mentioned that this was a kitchen remodel, which can potentially involve as many as 6 "C" contractors.

    While replacing the "B" contractor substantially shortens the bid process, as well as the permitting and verification process, before they embark on this journey, one of the things to keep in mind is that you are required to schedule an inspection within 180 days, to maintain the permit as valid.

  • 9 years ago

    "We may need to change the contractor ... I hope we don't have to change the contractor again ... but for some bad reason we have to, this permit transfer can be avoided if the permit is under our (homeowner's) name."

    It is my understanding from reading the above statements from the OP that they have every intention of having a GC on the job, but wishes to avoid the permit transfer hassle should they have to replace the new contractor again down the road. (Please correct me if I am wrong, OP).

    IMO, I can see no "pro" to pulling your own permit if you are going to have a general contractor on the job. You are paying a general contractor to assume the responsibilities of inspections, etc., so why take those responsibilities on yourself?

  • 9 years ago

    Some municipalities require the permit holder to have a License also. And, the city might very well be happy to sell you one. But, your question is very location specific and if you are unable to divulge that, then you should forgo asking online and go ask the permitting office directly.

  • 9 years ago


    "(Please correct me if I am wrong, OP)."

    This statement, to me, implies that he is considering acting as the general;


    this permit transfer can be avoided if the permit is under our (homeowner's) name."

    Whether he stays with the existing contractor, changes too another contractor, (which is the best coarse), or elects to act as the general, the permit will have to be transferred from the present holder.

    He/they may have another dilemma.

    There was a separate contract for the preparation of the plans, and while it appears that the language included an approved or build-able set of plans, which requires a plan check fee being paid.

    However, did it also include "a permitted set of plans?"

    Which has it's own fee schedule, and may as well include "C" trades fees.

  • 9 years ago


    But, your question is very location specific and if you are unable to divulge that,

    He mentioned in another thread, that he was in a county area.

    As general information or interest, if you were to visit the County of Los Angeles web site you can find the areas throughout the county which fall under the jurisdiction of the County Building Dept.

    They almost all, are near a water well.