Just because it's your house doesn't mean you can do whatever you want to in it. One thing you can't do (at least without a permit): turn it into a "maternity hotel."
Neighbors had complained that the owners of a mansion in tony Chino Hills, Calif., were running an operation out of their home allowing women from China to travel there and give birth at the mansion so their babies would be considered American citizens. At one point, there were reportedly as many as 30 women staying there.
But the homeowners, listed as Los Angeles Hermas Inc., Hai Yong Wu and Yi Wang, didn't have a permit to operate the home as a hotel or any other business. Chino Hills officials were able to get a restraining order against the homeowners, and now the mansion appears to be sitting vacant, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Officials told KABC-TV in Los Angeles that they filed for the restraining order because the "business" was a violation of city building codes. The order prohibits Wu and Wang from reoccupying the house, as well as performing construction on it without a permit.
"This is the first step in a legal process that we feel will permanently shut down the home as a hotel," Chino Hills Mayor Peter Rogers added. "We are hopeful this matter will be legally concluding soon."
Many people aren't aware that there are many things you cannot do with your home without proper city permits. Even a Phoenix man who hosted regular Bible studies at his home was thrown in jail after officials told him his house was not zoned for the gatherings.
But there are other things you may need city permits for: If you want to rent out a portion of your home to non-family members, you may need approval from the city to zone your home for a rental unit. And, most definitely, before you contract an addition to be built onto your home, the city zoning department will have to approve the plans before they are put into action.