In yesterday's post about that wide-open bathroom on Virginia Street in an "un-warranted" attic, one of our intrepid commenters asked:
So can someone explain what the effect on a condo is of something unwarranted? I assume that means there were no permits done for the work and its not actually recorded on the condo map or cc&r's?While we're not sure what the commenter means by "condo map" in this case, all CC&Rs require approval from the homeowners association before renovations commence and that they be legal and permitted. So we don't know who dropped the ball on this one- or even when it was done- and we're going to assume that in a two-unit condominium like this, someone just said "eh, whatever." And "un-warranted" is generally brokerbabble for "illegal construction" which, as far as we can tell from the pictures online, that's just what this is.
We see this as a 2-bed, 1-bath unit with an illegal attic finished without permits. Which is probably the way the City and Count of San Francisco sees it as well. If they know about it- public records show this simply as a two-unit building with no record of permits filed, and kudos to the realtor for setting it out upfront- although it would have been required in the disclosure report. There are three basic reasons for building permits. One is safety. We have building codes that require certain standards for construction- like electrical, plumbing and structural. To take this a few steps further, an electrical fire in this building could burn down the entire block. There's fire safety- is there a way out of your unwarranted master suite if the building's on fire? The last is money. The city/county collect fees for work that falls under their purview, plus renovations are reflected in your property taxes.
Financially, it may be tougher to get an FHA mortgage on this unit, although appraisers are apparently loathe to note illegal construction- their phone would never ring again. An insurance inspector may note the apparent lack of egress and sprinklers, and really, do you want to die of smoke inhalation because your toaster went haywire downstairs and you couldn't get out? And when an unsuspecting future owner tries to do permitted work the Building Department could easily require them to bring the entire unit fully up to code. If you've got thoughts on this issue, or heaven forbid we left something out, let us know in the comments.
· We're Scratching Our Heads Over This Wacky Bathroom [Curbed SF]