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Pergola Paradise or Permit Peril? Know Your Local Rules BEFORE You Build!

Pergola Paradise or Permit Peril? Know Your Local Rules BEFORE You Build!

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Adding a pergola to your home is likely an appealing idea. Many people choose to build pergolas so they can enjoy their yards even more than before.

It can be useful to have a pergola on your property. However, you want to make sure that you do everything the right way.

You might be wondering whether you can just start building a pergola or if you need a permit first.

Read on to learn all of the important details about this topic. You’ll have a better idea of what you need to do when all is said and done.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Pergola?

You might need a permit to build a pergola. This all depends on where you live.

The laws are going to vary based on what state you live in. Some states will have strict laws when it comes to building permanent structures on properties.

If you need to obtain a permit, it’s important to go through the right channels to do so. Those who plan to build pergolas themselves will need to figure out what to do to obtain the necessary permits based on local laws.

It’s worth noting that you can hire people to build pergolas for you. Many people reach out to contractors to handle jobs like this.

Typically, the contractors are going to handle the necessary permit applications, and you won’t have to do anything yourself. You might need to sign some documents and give your okay for certain things, but it’s a lot easier to have professionals handle things.

It all comes down to how much money you want to spend. If you have the cash and you’d like to hire experts to do the work, it won’t be too difficult to get everything that you need.

This shouldn’t lead you to believe that getting a permit to build a pergola will be hard. It’s simply true that many people find having to get a permit to be a hassle.

What Happens if You Build a Pergola Without a Permit?

Building a pergola without a permit in an area where there is a law against such things will have consequences. The consequences will depend on the area, and you’ll have to look up local laws to see what will happen.

It’s common for people who break these laws to be fined. You might be fined, and you’ll be forced to retroactively pay for the permit.

There have been situations where people have been made to remove the structures that they’ve built. So you could theoretically be made to tear down your pergola if you built it without the proper permit and authorization.

It’s even possible that you could still be fined if such a scenario occurred. This would be very frustrating, and it’s something that you should do your best to avoid.

Remember that you need to look up the specific information for your area. The laws in your area might specify what fines or punishments you would face for building a pergola without a permit.

What States Require a Permit and What States Don’t?

Sadly, it isn’t so simple as saying “X” state will require a permit while “Y” state will not require a permit. Local laws can differ even within state lines.

While it’s true that some states might have more relaxed laws about building permit structures on properties, it’s also true that there are specific rules in different cities. The city or county that you live in might have rules that you’ll need to abide by.

So looking up broad information isn’t really that useful. To ensure that you don’t break any local laws, it’s imperative to look up whether a permit is required to build a pergola in your area.

Don’t look things up just based on the state that you live in. Look up the rules for your specific county and city.

Failure to do this could lead to you doing something and getting in trouble later. You don’t want to face fines or other problems due to not doing the necessary research.

There might even be laws relating to homeowner’s associations. If you live in an area with a homeowner’s association, you might have to factor that in as well.

That being said, sometimes it is fine to build a pergola on a property without a permit. For example, the laws for free-standing pergolas might be different from the laws for pergolas that are attached to properties.

Once again, this is a situation where you need to look things up locally. The specifics will depend on the rules in your city.

What Size Pergola Can I Build Without a Permit?

Typically, smaller pergolas won’t require you to get a permit to build them. A pergola that is smaller than 10 x 10 is likely going to be fine, but it’s still best to look up local laws before proceeding.

It’s also worth noting that most people want to build pergolas that are larger than 10 x 10. You’d need a bit of a bigger pergola to be able to fit a nice table underneath it and create a sitting area.

When Does a Pergola Need a Permit?

There isn’t a universal answer to this question. In many areas, pergolas that are small won’t need a permit.

However, you can’t take this answer as a universal truth. The laws could very well be different where you live.

It’s always best to check the local laws to see if you need to apply for a permit. This keeps you safe and prevents you from having to pay costly fines later.

All you need to do is do a little bit of research on your local governmental websites. You could also call local authorities and ask for information.

You should be pointed in the right direction so you can determine if you need to get a permit. If you do, you’ll be taken through the steps to get what you need so you can get started building your pergola.

Final Thoughts

You might not be happy to hear that this situation is as complicated as it is. With local laws differing so much from place to place, it’s not possible to give you concrete answers.

A pergola might require you to get a permit to be able to build it on your property. It all depends on various factors, such as how big it is and where it is located.

The exact rules aren’t universal, and this means that you must look up local information. So you have to contact local authorities and figure out what you can and cannot do without a permit.

If you do things without getting a permit, you might get in trouble if there are laws preventing the building of pergolas in your area. You could wind up having to pay a fine, or you might even be made to tear your pergola down.

This can all be avoided by doing a bit of local research and contacting the right people. Whenever you’re planning to add a structure to your property, it’s best to do the research ahead of time.

Don’t let this information discourage you from building a pergola on your property. Having a pergola can be a lot of fun, and it might even add value to your home.

You can obtain the necessary permit and do things to the letter of the law. Always follow local rules to avoid potentially costly problems.


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