- A lot of people assumed the property inspections would help ferret out illegal apartments or help uncover remodel work for which proper permits were not secured, but the inspection process has a major loophole that could be exploited to hide those situations. An owner who has made substantial renovation work but didn't get proper permits (and, therefore, said work is not reflected in the information about the property) can simply refuse or avoid the physical inspections twice and wait to see what is the presumed value assigned by the inspectors. If the estimate is low enough, don't say anything. But, if the inspector assumes a value higher than the work you had done, well... call up the number they left and have them complete the visual inspection.
My impression from all that has been said about this is that it takes something gross to be noticed, like an extension out back or a new bathroom. New drywall, probably not, replacing flooring or kitchen cabinets does not require a permit. If you actually know of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, please correct me if I'm wrong. I guess there's few who have been through this since it's been 29 years!
My point is that the information brochure from the city states that the inspectors will take account of the improvements and conditions inside each property to determine its FMV. For those properties to which the inspectors can not gain access, they will leave a note and come back a second time. If after two attempts they can not gain access, they will guesstimate the value of the property. For people who have done massive work inside a home, or those who run boarding houses chock full of illegal apartments, they are better off avoiding the inspectors and rolling the dice on valuation.
From the brochure:
"It's important to point out that the valuation of your home will be based on the total living area in terms of square footage, rather than by a room count, although the inspector will list the total number of rooms for descriptive purposes only.
Aside from the living area, other features which will affect the valuation of your home, include: remodeled bathrooms and kitchens, finished basements, central air conditioning, desks [sic] and patios, pools, garages, and overall use, etc. Topographical features of the land are also noted as they affect value.
If unable to gain entrance at the time of the first visit, the field representative will leave a card suggesting a time for a return visit and a phone number to enable you to schedule the next visit at a mutually convenient time. If at the time of the second visit an interior inspection is not possible, a considered estimate of the interior structure of the premises will be made by the inspector. This information will be recorded on a card and left for the homeowner. If the estimate is incorrect, the property owner may call the phone number on the card to arrange for an interior inspection of the property at a mutually convenient date and time."