Home Renos in British Columbia

  • Recorded on: June 22, 2021

  • Length: 60 minutes


Planning a home reno and want to know if you need a permit? Did some work and now you’ve been told you should have gotten a permit? Whatever stage you’re at, you’ll benefit from the answers lawyer Nathalie Baker offers on common questions about home renos in BC.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Three things to consider before starting home renovations to avoid common pitfalls. [3:00]

  • Common problems that arise in relation to permits for home renos. [6:45]

  • What you can do to avoid those problems. [9:55]

  • How the permitting process works. [13:00]

  • What happens when you build without a permit. [16:20]

  • What the Board of Variance is, when you might seek a variance through the board, and whether the process requires a lawyer. [20:25]

  • How you can get a variance without going to the Board of Variance. [22:50]

  • When a building inspector can enter your home. [25:30]

  • Whether an inspector who enters your home to investigate one issue can investigate other issues at the same time. [29:25]

  • Whether a homeowner can be forced to correct unpermitted work that was done, say, 20 to 30 years ago. [30:40]

  • What you can do to avoid problems with contractors you hire. [32:30]

  • How much it costs to get a building permit. [33:50]

  • What disclosure documents protect a later purchaser of a home if renovations are done without a permit. [35:35]

  • Whether you can build a shed on your property without a permit. [36:44]

  • What happens when renovations done by a previous owner were done without a permit. [38:20]

  • What your options are when — without a permit — your neighbour builds a large deck that is less than three feet from your property. [39:30]

  • How to know if a neighbour has obtained a permit for their renovation. [41:30]

  • What to do if your neighbour builds a shed right alongside your shared fence. [43:30]

  • Whether a permit is required to prune tree branches from a neighbour’s tree that overhangs your property. [45:20]

  • What to do when a city tree’s roots and branches encroach on your property, including steps you can take to get the municipality to deal with it. [47:25]

  • Whether you need a permit for a basic kitchen renovation. [49:35]

  • How long it takes to get a building permit. [51:10]

  • Whether you can complain about a bylaw violation anonymously. [51:55]

  • Whether doing a strata renovation at UBC is similar to doing one in Vancouver. [52:40]

  • What steps are prudent, in a co-op situation, when dealing with work done in years past, such as work that was not done to code. [53:40]


Nathalie Baker

Nathalie Baker

Nathalie is a litigator practising primarily in the area of municipal law. She has a particular interest in land use matters and issues of procedural fairness, and represents landowners, developers, citizens groups and business owners on a wide range of local government matters. Nathalie also acts for members of municipal councils and regional boards on motions to censure and allegations of conflict of interest and misconduct.

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