In Arizona (specifically Maricopa county or the city of Tempe), are there any laws or ordinances requiring a landlord to have to get a building permit before renovating or remodeling one single residential apartment unit within an apartment complex of 200+ units?
Land Use / Zoning Attorney
I do not know the local codes, but here are some general ways to proceed.
First, in most communities, making any change to the structure (new doors, windows, tearing out walls), electrical or plumbing needs a permit. Sometime, things like simply replacing a faucet or sink are exempt. Also, usually, repainting, recarpeting or putting in new appliances is exempt (except for water heaters).
All of that said, different places have very different requirements for triggering the need for a permit. If you are in the city of Tempe, you should look up and call the local building department and simply ask. Most places are very forthcoming about requirements. You also could look on line to see of the local building code is available on the internet.
Most importantly - if there is an issue here that affects your rights in some way, don't rely on these comments. Consult a local attorney who handles local zoning, building or code enforcement issues.
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Estate Planning Attorney
Remember too that places like condos and apartments have internal restrictive covenants that require improvements conform with a uniform architectural or aesthetic scheme. Make sure you check to see if you're under any recorded deed restrictions or in a contract with the other owners in the building that require you get approval for renovations that vary from a uniform scheme. As to county/city requirements, I agree that minor renovations like replacing a solid door with a windowed door might not require a permit while changing out the electrical will.
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