San Jose - Contractor troubles!

We recently employed a contractor to install a new a/c system & included permit approval as part of contract. The planned work was completed last week, however, the contractor found out that the drainage need to be in dry-well for permit approval. This is additional cost which contractor is not willing to absorb & claims did not know before. He had previously pulled the permit but the inspection has not been scheduled. Considering my options at this point, thinking of paying his cost for the work done so far and asking another company to complete the work. Don’t want him to undo the work done which will cause a loss to the contractor. Questions I have:

a. If we do not find a 2nd company to pick his work, what happens to the permit he has pulled? Can we get a refund or cancel the permit ?

b. Any risk if we pay him for cost of the work done and terminate the contract?

Thoughts/opinions much appreciated !!

most likely, this option will lead to more cost down the road, if you can find someone to complete the job at all.
A 2nd contractor will not like to warrant the finished installation if half was done by someone else.

Just pay for the extra permit, or ask if you can split the cost with him.


+one.The above the best, hard to get 2nd one. Above all, the first one happily go away with some additional cost from you. Just negotiate and finish it.

Thanks ptiemann and Jil. The system works as such and the additional work doesn’t help functionally except for permit (air conditioner water outlet will be in to plants instead of dry well).

So, if I were to not do any additional work, can the permit he pulled be cancelled and preferably, money refunded? What are the implications if the permit is left open and no inspection ordered?

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If you don’t close the permit ( means final it ) then Code enforcement will flag you once the time to final expires ( usually one year or 6 months ).

Why is the inspector making you run the condensate line to drywell ? it can drip on the sidewalk as long and then to the sideyard plants .

I think it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I had been caught replacing a roof without a permit (we honestly wanted to get the permit on Monday, but the roofer started right after we signed a contract… on a Sunday. One of the building inspectors saw it Monday 8am and gave us a red-tag.
I paid (double) for the permit, roofer finished the job, I never final’d it.
Reason: this was a SFR with 2 unpermitted additional apartments. The property is on a corner lot and the 2 apartments are super visible.
6 (six)years later, I got a letter, they threatened with investigation, I had to pay a SECOND time for the permit (but not double this time), inspector came out, signed off and it was good.

It turned out that he lived just a few houses down the street from our rental :slight_smile:

Even if the city doesn’t come back to you, what if you want to sell the house in a few years?

In 2012, I bought a SFR in Blossom Hill with a second story addition (600sqft) that was done around 1960. They did not finalize the permit. In order to avoid trouble when selling, I finaled the 52 year old permit. I had to pay some small fee, and make about 6 upgrades … to satisfy 2010 (or whatever) code, e.g. ARCfault breakers in the panel. Nothing too expensive, but a nuisance.

I recommend that you finalize the permit, it will be worth it in the future, sooner or later.


The problem with inspections is it is a crapshoot. You never know what to expect. Best to kiss the inspectors ass and hope he is in a good mood. I miss the good old days when you could pay them off.