Between renters, property owners must often do some maintenance to keep their rentals in good shape. However, New Jersey requires property owners to file permit applications before making changes to their property. In some cases, there is a fine line between what does and does not require a permit.
According to the New Jersey Administrative Code 5:23-2.7, here are a few of the changes to one- and two-family homes that may require a permit, even if they seem to be ordinary maintenance.
Knocking down a wall or a part of a wall to make a room larger requires a permit if any of the wall is loadbearing, or if it involves cutting or removing a structural beam. In fact, any work that affects the building’s structural integrity requires a permit.
A property owner could paint, wallpaper or install vinyl wallcovering without a permit as the law considers these to be ordinary maintenance. Plastering and installation of drywall are also maintenance if the work covers less than 25% of the building’s wall area. Putting up paneling is not ordinary maintenance.
Anyone can replace a door if the dimensions or frame of the original opening remain the same. Reducing or otherwise altering the dimensions requires a permit, and so does creating a new outside door anywhere on the building. Replacing the glass in a storm door or sliding door does not require a permit as long as it is of the same type and quality as the original and complies with the minimum code requirements.
Failing to obtain a permit when one is necessary generally results in a fine. There may be other consequences, too, though, such as having to have the work redone at considerable expense. Challenging a violation by showing reasons that the work was maintenance may be an option in some cases.