Frequently Asked Questions
 

1. Why do I need a permit?

2. When do I need a permit?

3. Do I have to pay for inspections separately?

4. Do I need a permit for a concrete patio? 

5. Who is responsible for the public sidewalk in front of my house?

6. Do I need a permit to re-roof my home?

7. Can I rent my house to another person?

8. My neighbor is not mowing his grass or has trash on his lot. What do I do?

9. Do I need a City inspection before I sell my house?

10. Do fences require permits?

11. Does the City recommend contractors?

12. I want to open a business in the City or I am selling my business to another person. What do I need to do?

13. Can I replace all my basement windows with glass block?

14. Do I need a permit for a garage sale and can I put up signs?

15. Who should apply for a permit?


1. Why do I need a permit?

The State of Michigan adopted the single state codes to protect the public health, safety and welfare and provide for uniform enforcement in every jurisdiction.  In Madison Heights the building division enforces these codes .  The process protects residents and business owners from the hazards of unsafe construction and helps them understand local laws and ordinances.  The State of Michigan also requires all residential builders, and all electrical, plumbing, mechanical and sign specialist contractors to be licensed by the State.  All contractors must register with the City prior to beginning work.  The City verifies their licenses and insurance to make sure they are qualified.
 

By issuing permits, the City has the opportunity to inspect permitted construction ensuring that acceptable standards are met and appropriate materials and methods used.  The City of Madison Heights appreciates the cooperation of its residents and businesses in insuring that the City remains a safe place to live and work.

2. When do I need a permit?

A permit is required for all construction, remodeling and maintenance except those items classified as “normal maintenance” in the codes. Typical projects requiring permits include, but are not limited to:

  • New Buildings
  • Additions
  • Renovations
  • Demolitions
  • Prefabricated Structures
  • Electrical Systems and Services
  • Plumbing Systems · Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
  • Residential Sheds Over 200 Square Feet
  • Miscellaneous Residential including Fireplaces, Pools, Decks, and Garages
  • Replacement Roofs and/or Shingles
  • Exterior Concrete
  • Replacement Windows
  • Exterior Siding
  • Replacement Water Heaters
  • Replacement Furnace or Air Conditioning
The following repairs are considered normal maintenance if they are not part of a structural addition or remodel:

  • Painting
  • Gutters and Downspouts
  • Repair of Faucets
  • Replacement of Individual Electric Switches or Outlets
  • Repair of Non-Structural Fascia & Deck Boards
  • Repair of Broken Windows
  • Tuckpointing of Masonry
  • Replacement of Kitchen Cabinets w/ no Structural, Drywall, Plumbing or Electrical Changes

3. Do I have to pay for inspections separately?

No, unless you fail.  All necessary inspections are included on building permits and all other permits are charged on a per trip basis with the applicant specifying the number of inspections required.  Additional inspections may be added to non-building permits if they are required.  All inspections that fail are charged a re-inspection fee which must be paid prior to the re-inspection date.

4. Do I need a permit for a concrete patio?

Yes, The City issues concrete permits for all flatwork concrete not covered by the building code.  This is done to insure that the work drains properly and does not flood adjacent properties, has rat walls where required, and is the proper thickness.
 

5. Who is responsible for the public sidewalk in front of my house?

The property owner is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of all public sidewalk that abuts any portion of the property.  Permits are required for repair or replacement of public sidewalk.  There is no charge for a permit for five squares of walk or less but an inspection is required prior to placement of the concrete.  The City has an annual sidewalk repair program to repair sidewalks.

 6. Do I need a permit to re-roof my home?

Yes, A permit is required to re-roof your house whether it is a complete tear off and re-roof or just adding a second layer of roofing to an existing roof.   Please refer to the
roofing handout for more details.
 

7. Can I rent my house to another person?

Yes, but a landlord license and inspection is required before you do so.  See the section on
landlord licensing.

8. My neighbor is not mowing his grass or has trash on his lot.  What do I do?

Try to resolve the issue with the neighbor.  If this is not possible, or does not work, you may contact
Code Enforcement.
 

9. Do I need a City inspection before I sell my house?

No, the City does not require, or provide, resale inspections.

10. Do fences require permits?

No, The City does have a fence ordinance which sets forth the standards for fence construction.  A permit is not required but you must comply with the
ordinance requirements.
 

11. Does the City recommend contractors?

No, the City cannot recommend contractors.  You may obtain a list of contractors currently registered with the City from the Community Development Department.  Check their references and their standing with the State Commercial Services Bureau and the Better Business Bureau.

12. I want to open a business in the City or I am selling my business to another person.  What do I need to do?

Any new business, and any change in the use, ownership, or occupancy of an existing business requires a new occupancy certificate and may require a business license.  Applications are available at the Community Development Department and the Clerk's office respectively.  The property is inspected by the Building Department and the Fire Marshal and any deficiencies must be corrected prior to the certificate being issued.  Any business engaged in retail or service activities must also obtain a business license from the City Clerk.

13. Can I replace all my basement windows with glass block?

Yes, In most cases glass block can be installed in all basement windows.  It is strongly recommended that vents be installed in the glass block, one on each side of the house, to provide for cross ventilation when needed.
 
14. Do I need a permit for a garage sale and can I put up signs?

Click Here for information concerning garage sales and the use and placement of garage sale signs.

15. Who should apply for a permit?

State law requires that a building permit be issued to the owner in fee of the property or his “authorized agent” (i.e. your contractor or attorney etc.).  As a qualified homeowner you may pull all the permits required to work on your home provided that you are the occupant and actually doing the work. You may not obtain a homeowner permit for a rental or investment property.  The Building Department recommends that if you are not doing the work you have the contractor(s) pull the permits.  This insures that they are licensed and have the necessary insurance to do your project  If you pull the permit, anyone you hire to work on your project must be State licensed and registered with the City.  Always make sure the contractor gives you a copy of the permit before any work is done, and that the job card is posted on the front of the building in clear view.