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Buying new home with an existing Partition wall built >10 years ago w/o permit

Buying new home with an existing Partition wall built >10 years ago w/o permit

Old 01-07-15, 06:24 PM
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Buying new home with an existing Partition wall built >10 years ago w/o permit

Hi All:

I'm a first time home buyer currently in the inspection phase of a prospective home. Our offer has been accepted and during the title search our agent discovered that the original owners put up a partition to split one bedroom into two and did not have a permit when they did it. It is a non load bearing, non electrical, non plumbing partition wall.

I have a few concerns:

1) Does this need to be permitted prior to purchasing? Or after? or at all?
2) Do I take on extra liability if I continue to purchase the home? If so what kind?
3) Could it negatively affect my ability to sell the home down the road, say in 10 years or more?

According to the city, it seems like a wall of this type is a gray area on whether or not you need a permit, i can't tell exactly:

From cityofirvine.org - "Permit Not Required"

"Building permits. A building permit is not required for the following:

One-story detached buildings accessory on a single family home site used as tool and storage sheds, or playhouses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11.15 m2). Note: This exception does not apply to patio covers which are subject to permit regardless of size; be sure to contact the Development Assistance Counter for specific setback requirements at (949) 724-6308.
Fences not over 7 feet (1829 mm) high, and not retaining over 18 inches of earth on either side. Be advised, however, that height limitations of the City of Irvine Zoning Code are still applicable. Contact the Development Assistance Counter at (949) 724-6308 for assistance in defining height limitations.
Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) high.
Retaining walls which are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding flammable liquids. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) high.
Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2: 1.
Platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762mm) above grade and not over any basement or story below.
Painting, papering and similar finish work.
Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3, and Group U Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches (1372 mm).
Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L). Note: A 2 foot minimum setback is required from any associated pool equipment and any property line.
Replacement windows and doors having the same dimension as those being replaced and not requiring any change to the structural frame or opening size. Such replacements must still conform to all technical codes and applicable city, county and state ordinances relating to weather proofing, security and energy efficiency. For questions relating to these requirements, please call (949) 724-6471.
Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above exempted items."


The sellers are not the original owners and say they were not aware the wall was even an addition as it was there when they bought it. The construction looks good and the home has been appraised and inspected and no one mentioned this or had any concerns. Part of me feels like I should ignore the issue but the other part wants to understand exactly what I'm getting into being that this is my first home.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Old 01-07-15, 06:57 PM
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Any wall over 2' in length must have a receptacle, an one every 12', so it is a code violation. The wall can be removed as easily as it was put up. What would have flagged it for me would having a load bearing wall removed without permits. If the wall suits your needs and you are OK with it, no harm.

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