When Moving a House, Multiple Permits Required

Updated November 13, 2014
Angie’s List members Becky Anderson and Greg Close purchased a home from Concordia University for one dollar and had the house moved in order to avoid demolition. (Photo courtesy of Greg Close and Becky Anderson)

As complex as moving a house is, relocation is only part of the process. Homeowners and contractors must also get the necessary permits for the move and the new location.

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Moving the home is only half the battle. Acquiring the necessary permits oftentimes can be a point of contention between homeowners and local municipalities.

While most structural moving companies will take care of the permits for the physical move itself, depending on where you live, a relocated home could be considered new construction and require updating to meet building codes.

"One inspector would classify the house as a 'new build' and another would say it's just a remodel," homeowner Greg Close says. "We'd pass one [inspection] one day, and another inspector would fail us on the same item the next day. It was very frustrating."

Here are some other regulations to review before the big move:

Trade licensing and permits for such services vary by state and municipality. Verify the status of the mover's license with your state's Department of Transportation. Some states, like Washington, also require a structural mover to have a general contractor's license.Make sure the mover carries insurance covering the workers, the public and your property. Once a house is off its foundation, the homeowner's insurance is void. Make sure the company has cargo insurance to cover the structure and contents while off the foundation.Check with your local building department to see what permits are required. You'll more than likely need a permit for the move, and at the very least, a permit for the new foundation. Movers should also obtain any other permits required by the DOT and arrange for any police escorts necessary.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on June 9, 2010.

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