Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: We built an 800 square foot addition about 3 years ago. The work passed all of the inspections, and we were told that final approval would be given when all the floors were finished. Only the bathroom floor remains unfinished. Our question is this: If we don’t seek final approval, the county assessor won’t increase our tax base. Meanwhile, we can enjoy our addition as long as we live here. If we do this, could we be penalized by the county? Darin

Dear Darin: You pose an interesting question. As long as the local municipality does not impose penalties for failure to complete a permitted project, you may have found a legal means of avoiding a confiscatory tax increase. If they do impose penalties, those fines could possibly be more affordable than the tax increase. Before making any decisions on this, you should seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in administrative law.