New ads call on Philly homeowners to get their permits

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 Licenses and Inspections commissioner Carlton Williams (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Licenses and Inspections commissioner Carlton Williams (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections is spending $75,000 to remind homeowners they need a permit for major remodeling jobs. 

Many homeowners don’t like pulling a permit, but Licenses and Inspections commissioner Carlton Williams said the radio and print ads will give them a nudge. 

“Anything that has a structural condition or structural change is going to require a permit,” Williams said. “But certain things — like flooring, tiling, painting, all those type of things — don’t require a permit. If you are talking about moving a load-bearing wall or changing a roof or putting in new windows all around, you need a permit because it affects the safety of the house or structural integrity.” 

Many property owners skip permits to save money, Williams said. If a contractor suggests it, he advised homeowners to beware.

“Contractors are required to have licenses and insurance,” he said. “What we are finding out on a lot of jobs is that many contractors don’t have insurance.”

More than 200 stop-work orders were issued in the past year for projects that lacked permits, he said.

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