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What Happens If You Build A Pergola Without A Permit?

Pergolas are beautiful outdoor structures and they add that element of style to your backyard. But, wait! Can you just close your eyes and go in headfirst during the construction of a pergola? Well, let’s not be hasty because apart from involving pergola contractors you also need a permit for building a pergola. So, what happens if you build a permit without a pergola? Follow this guide.

What Is A Building Permit?

Construction anywhere outside the house is not a go-and-done job. It needs planning and it needs permission, otherwise, you might get slapped with a lawsuit anytime soon. This is why a building permit is super important for things like these, especially if you’re building something outside that’s going to clash with the other person’s boundary or house wall. This is where a building permit comes in handy.

A building permit is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a permission letter given to you, by the house authorities that, yes, you can build something in your yard. But that’s not where it all ends. You see, there are certain things and laws that you need to abide by, otherwise, you will be violating the rules and you will still get that lawsuit.

So, it’s better to be open and honest with the local authorities and give them the rundown of all the things that you’re considering building in your yard. This is going to give the permit provider an idea about what you’re trying to build and they can correct you if any mistake occurs or they can remind you of the different laws and regulations. Now, every state has different regulations, but the main ones are pretty simple and generic and those are:

  • The construction should not be in the vicinity of the neighbor’s sight or horizon of vision, because that’s rude and you don’t want to block your neighbor’s view.
  • The construction shouldn’t overlap the boundary of the neighborhood.
  • During construction, the neighbors shouldn’t be affected in any way, shape, or form.

Can You Build A Pergola Without A Permit?

This is a question that a lot of people ask, especially when they’re considering building a pergola in their yards. Do you need a permit? Well, you might or might not need a permit to build a pergola, and here’s why:

If you want to build a pergola, then a permit is necessary, especially if this is the first time you’re building anything in your backyard and you don’t want it to be troublesome for the neighbors. You’re going to have zero ideas about the laws and regulations so it’s better to take that extra step and get a permit if you want to stay out of trouble.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who has an idea about how things work in permits and what the basic laws and regulations are, then you can skip the step of getting a permit. That’s not to say that you’re violating anything at all, but you’re already knowledgeable about the things that need to be kept in mind during the pergola installation, because either you’ve done it before or you have done a lot of research on building pergolas without permits. At the end of the day, there shouldn’t be any hindrance or problems with the neighbors and that should be your goal.

What Happens If You Do?

Let’s say that the odds were not in your favor and you built a pergola without a permit, without any knowledge of rules and laws, so, what happens next? Well, here are some scenarios:

You Can Get Fined For It

If you have built a pergola without a permit and if it messes up the neighbor’s house or their part of the yard, then they can sue you for violation, rightfully so. This is not something that should be taken lightly.

The main rule, when living in a neighborhood or a housing society, is the fact that you’re mindful of the neighbor’s space and their peace and you want to try your best to stay out of anyone’s business and they should do the same. Now imagine the anger and irritation of your neighbor when they see that your pergola is disrupting their view or worse, overlapping the boundaries. That’s a good enough reason for them to file a suing claim against you and you’ll be in even deeper trouble than before.

It Can Be A Hazard

Sometimes, contractors or builders aren’t the best at their jobs. They will take the task of building a pergola, but they won’t do a good job at it at all. Due to this, the pergola you’ve just had constructed can turn into a hazard in a small time frame.

There’s bad weather, gusts of winds, and construction errors that can lead to problems and if the pergola collapses, then it’s a huge hassle and also an unsafe situation where you need to ensure that no one gets hurt or affected. Therefore, choose pergola and gazebo builders Port Jefferson carefully and beware of inexperienced contactors and scammers.

It Can Violate Someone’s Boundary

You’ve heard this already, but this is one of the top reasons why people get sued for building pergolas without permits. You can’t build a pergola that’s overlapping even a couple of inches into your neighbor’s boundary. That’s the main rule that you need to follow. You need to stay within your boundaries and not stray off course.

Put yourself in your neighbor’s shoes. How would you feel if someone built a pergola that was overlapping with your boundary/garden? Feeling the fumes, right? If your neighbor decides to confront you first, then you will be in trouble if you don’t have a permit on hand and that will give them more reason to file a complaint against you.

The Roof Can Fall

There are a lot of times when people go for roofed pergolas and that can be a great idea as well as a huge risk. If the weather is really bad and unpredictable where you live, then getting a roofed pergola might not be the brightest of ideas.

The roof can collapse and anyone could get injured due to improper installation or bad design. If you don’t have a permit, then you can be charged for way more than just simple negligence.

How To Get A Permit For A Pergola?

Getting a permit might sound like a summit, but it’s easy. All you need to do is visit your nearest building authority office and get permission to build an outdoor construction. They might ask you a couple of questions and you also need to keep in mind that your request can be denied if it doesn’t fit the required criteria.

If you’re good to go and have a contractor on board, then you will get the permit and you can start to get your hands dirty and build that beautiful pergola in your backyard, as a wonderfully alluring statement.


A pergola is a construction that needs specific permission from the building authorities and if you’re not taking this necessary step, then you can be in trouble. It’s best if you consider getting a permit beforehand. Your custom pergola builder Long Island can help you get a permit for your pergola.

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