Penalties Waived for Home Improvements Done Without Permits- Amnesty Program Slashes Permit Fees, Ensures Safe Houses

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As people make their New Year’s resolutions, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced that he is delivering on his own resolution to help homeowners save money while ensuring the safety of their homes by waiving penalty fees for property owners whose houses have been improved without required town building permits. The Supervisor, joined by Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilmen Gary Hudes and Anthony D’Esposito, discussed his proposal that would go into effect on January 11th, pending town board approval at the January 10th town board meeting. The proposal would effectively slash the cost of building permits in half for property owners whose houses have undergone upgrades such as dormers and additions without first securing the required permits and town approvals.

“We’re inviting residents to make a New Year’s resolution to get building permits for construction projects that were completed on their properties without first securing needed permits,” said Santino. “To help make this resolution easier, we are slashing the cost for permits for ‘already completed’ home improvements by 50 percent. It is important to secure building permits and have associated inspections performed to ensure that work has been performed properly and that residents’ homes are safe.” 

From January 11th through May 9th, homeowners will be able to file for a building permit application to maintain existing home improvements that lack necessary town approvals without incurring the traditional penalty for such permits. These permits, commonly known as “maintain” permits, ordinarily entail a fee that is double the amount charged for a permit issued in advance of performing construction at a home.

Town officials indicated that residents could save as much as $1,500 compared to the cost of securing a building permit absent the amnesty program. The cost of building permits are predicated on the value of the improvements/construction to be performed. For example, the cost of securing a “maintain” permit for a dormer valued at $100,000 would be $3,370 prior to the amnesty program. During the amnesty period, the same permit would cost the property owner $1,685.

“This building permit amnesty program will save homeowners money and encourage them to get the required permits,” said Goosby. “It’s a good program, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to take advantage.”

Santino stressed the importance of securing building permits in the interest of safety. He noted that improper work that lacks permits and associated town inspections could have deadly consequences for homeowners and their families.

“Faulty electrical work can present a fire hazard, an improperly installed water heater could result in carbon monoxide poisoning and a ‘botched’ plumbing job may result in a flooded home or contaminated water,” stated Santino. “Get your permits during this amnesty period and keep your family safe.”

It is easy to ‘do the right thing’ and safeguard your home during this amnesty period,” said Hudes. “Now is the time to act.”

“Failing to get your ‘maintain’ permits now can cause a lot of headaches when you decide to sell your home,” said D’ Esposito. “Taking care of outstanding permits now can make life easier when it comes time to list your home for sale.”     

Approximately 40 percent of all residential construction permits processed by the Town of Hempstead Building Department are maintain permits. In 2016, approximately 5,300 residential maintain permits were processed. For more information on filing construction permits please contact 516-538-8500 or visit our website at  

“Now is the time to make a New Year’s resolution to get your building permits for home improvements that lack required approvals,” concluded Santino. “Making good on this resolution will help save you money while keeping your family safe and secure in your house.”