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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I had a building on my property that burn in a fire and I'm

Customer Question

I had a building on my property that burn in a fire and I'm trying to build it back, but having a problem getting a permit from the town to put it back. I was told that Iam under the grandfather clause and can do so without their permission Is this true
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Be very careful with "grandfather clauses."

A 'grandfather clause' is a very specific part of legislation that allows pre-existing use to continue even though it contradicts current statutes or code. Grandfather clauses only extend as far as the specific language in the clause itself, so you need to find the clause you are trying to build under.

Many grandfather clauses limit the use to an existing structure, so when an older building is torn down or destroyed (such as yours was) the grandfather clause terminates as to that specific structure/use.

It is very rare that you can build without any permits or permission whatsoever. Even when a grandfather clause does apply, it does not generally give the property owner "carte blanche" to build without permits or inspection.

If you are being unfairly refused a building permit, I would recommend hiring a land use attorney. The administrative process to challenge a building department decision is very time sensitive and you need to both know the underlying building codes and the administrative code to make any appeal effective. While it is probably not what you want to hear, if you want to get your building project back on track in a timely and efficient manner, hiring a lawyer is probably going to be a necessary expense due to the city's refusal to issue a permit at this time.

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