Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

City of Trees

I recently went to visit a prospect who was interested in having their (new to them) home modified by adding a kitchen to the basement for Grandma. To educate him, I said that what he wanted to create was called an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) and that permitting would be necessary. I said that he also had an option to create a duplex, but the rules were less favorable. He abruptly stopped and asked me to leave. I was in and out in 5 minutes. (a new personal record).

As I was gathering up my stuff, he mentioned that he had shown the project to two other contractors who did not mention any of that ADU talk and that this project was going to be done without a permit. Not by Levco, I mumbled as I left.

Since that visit, we have been able to ask enough questions to weed out other prospects that are asking for the same thing.

Rules, nope there are none

Where Are the Rules?

There are no real rules for Airbnb (Air Bed & Breakfast) or VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) units. People are figuring out ways to make a buck by renting out their spare rooms, I get it. It is becoming a hot topic for the mayoral candidates because regulation is what governments do best, and the short-term rental market out of control, especially if you ask the neighbors who live near them.

The pressure on small contractors must be unbearable. Are they just ignorant? I guess you have to learn it on the streets. There is no requirement for education, let alone for continuing education for contractors yet. There should be real consequences for the contractors. Time for the police to get involved?


There was a time during the last slow cycle in the 80-s that inspectors were roaming around looking for permit-less jobs. Now they are barely keeping up with the volume of work that is going on. I suppose they get the occasional report of work being done by a sign-less contractor under the radar.

Work Without a Permit? Oh, Hell No!

I do not have all the answers, but I am ready to be part of the discussion. What fool thinks that this work can or should be done without a permit? Here is a link to the things you don’t need permits for in Boise.

Three are so many reason why working on, or having work done on your home without appropriate permits is wrong, I started a list.

  • You do not get third party verification that the work was done properly.
  • Your insurance company is not in the loop and could deny a claim.
  • Your home if sold will have had work done without a permit.
  • Your contractor is breaking the law.
  • You are breaking the law.
  • If your home is ruined during the process of an illegal remodel, that may be on you.
  • The permit fees are double if you get caught.

There are probably more reasons not to do it; feel free to jump in and add to the list. I was just happy to read where several hundred un-licensed contractors were arrested for offering to do un-permitted work in the Los Angeles area.

Parting Thoughts

Part of me wanted to report him, but I chose not to. On the off chance he and his contractor get caught, all I will say is “I told you so.” The consequences of being caught could be a blessing and a good learning opportunity that was obviously missed in kindergarten.

Levco has built a reputation as rule followers. We are spring loaded to get permits and follow the rules. Our reputation rides on it. I am proud of that, and our clients expect and appreciate our approach, too. If it is a second kitchen you want under the same roof, then hire a contractor that knows how to follow the ADU rules and get your remodeling done right.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.