When looking into building pergolas for your home, you might be wondering whether there are any legal hoops that you need to jump through. You know that some structures will require permits when you build them.
For example, in most areas, it’s going to require a permit when you want to build a barn or a very large shed. What about building a pergola then?
Do you need a permit for a pergola or is that something that won’t require a permit? You want to do things by the letter of the law, and that means that it’s important to find out the answer to this question.
Below, you’ll learn about the permit requirements for pergolas. This should make it easier to understand what you need to do before building one and placing it on your property.
Do I Need a Permit to Build a Pergola?
You might need a permit to build a pergola. Some areas require permits for pergolas and others do not.
There might be situations where you will be allowed to build pergolas that are small enough without needing to get a permit. The specific rules will need to be looked up for your area.
So it’s best to peruse your local laws to see what’s up. This ensures that you can do things by the letter of the law to avoid problems.
Obtaining a permit for a pergola is generally easy. You just need to contact local authorities and apply for a permit to get everything in order.
Sometimes you might need to pay a small fee to get the permit that you need. If you have any questions on the matter, it’s best to direct them to local authorities.
Often, local government websites will have the information that you seek. So searching the government website pages for your state, city, and county will likely be helpful.
What Happens If You Build a Pergola Without a Permit?
There are a few things that can happen when you build a pergola without a permit. The most common situation involves paying a fine.
The exact amount of the fine will be dependent upon the local laws in your area. You might have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines depending on what the laws look like.
It’s also possible that local authorities will make you remove the pergola from the property. So you could go to the effort of building a pergola only to be told that you must take it down.
This is certainly something that has the potential to be frustrating. It’s one of the biggest reasons why you shouldn’t build a pergola without seeing if you need a permit first.
Getting the information that you need is as simple as searching local rules on governmental websites. You can also likely call local authorities for clarification if you need it.
What States Require a Permit and What States Don’t?
Rules and regulations are changing all the time. Most places in the United States allow people to build pergolas on their properties without permits.
However, there are some cities and states that have different rules. You’ll find that the rules in New York will differ from the rules in Georgia.
It isn’t as simple as looking for a list of states that have approved pergolas and states that have not. Sadly, it comes down to individual counties and different local laws.
Often, county and city laws will dictate whether you need a permit to build a pergola. So it’s really best to look up your local laws and see whether you need a permit.
For example, there might not be a statewide law that requires pergola permits. Despite this, you might need to get a permit due to a city law or a county law.
You need to take this into account to avoid getting hit with fines. Do your best to look things up so you can be sure that you’re doing things legally.
What Size Pergola Can I Build Without a Permit?
The rules can differ on what size the pergola can be as well. Many pergola-related laws state that pergolas that are larger than a specific size will require a permit.
It’s really that structures that are too large will require a building permit. It doesn’t have anything to do with pergolas specifically.
So the same thing would be true when you’re building a shed in some spaces. You might need a permit if you’re building a shed that is rather large.
Some laws might state that the pergola can’t be taller than 12 feet. The exact dimensions will differ based on the rules where you live.
It’s also worth noting that you generally can’t attach a pergola to a building without getting a permit. If the pergola is going to be attached to your house or your garage, you’ll almost surely need a permit to have it built.
You might be frustrated to keep hearing this, but it’s true that you need to look up specific local laws. All of the information that you seek will be specific to your area.
The exact size that a pergola can be in California without requiring a permit could be different than that of Oregon. Also, local laws can change, and you need to ensure that you get the most accurate information.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.