Return on building permit fees: aggravation


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My $100 village permit fee, for outside work, cost me thousands of dollars, aggravation and no satisfaction from the Building and Property Standards department. After a few estimates, I hired a contractor, listed in the paper, for gutter and beam work. After the job completion, water caused structural and paint damage. The contractor returned only to find that the spout fittings were separated. Time went by without repair work.

At village hall, I asked, how could an inspector have approved this job? No inspector did approve it. The contractor had not called for an inspection. After four more months of calls, letters to the company and numerous visits to village hall, the contractor returned to do more damage to my property.

I met village hall employees and brought pictures and a timeline of calls, responses and non-responses. I was shown the contractor's drawing, which were eight penciled lines, about my job. I was told a meeting, between the village and the contractor, was set up the next day at my home. I work and could not attend. Two code violations were given to the contractor.

My attorney said I had good evidence for Small Claims Court. He turned over the contract I signed. On the reverse side, which I had not seen, were 39 paragraphs. One of them said that any legal action taken by the buyer would result in the buyer paying for all legal fees, win or lose. My attorney said court was not an option. In his opinion, this was Village of Oak Park's problem to correct.

Building and Property Standards employees wanted me to have the contractor?#34;the cause of the damage?#34;fix it. I refused. Another contractor redid the work and everything is fine on the outside of my home. I'm out thousands of dollars which I need to pay for my taxes.

What do we get for our permit fees? Do we need an ombudsman at village hall?


Carol Sorentino
Oak Park

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