What is a permit and when do I need one
To keep buildings safe, the City Council enacts ordinances to regulate:
The City uses permits to make sure that the work complies with those ordinances.
Building projects of any size may require that you get one or more permits before you can begin the work.
Before beginning a project, you should contact Minneapolis 311 to see if you need a permit.
Before we can issue some permits, we may require a:
- Site plan
- Zoning site review
- Inspections plan review
Who can apply for a permit
A homeowner who is an occupant of a single-family detached dwelling or single-family attached dwelling may apply for a permit to perform construction related work on that property. (Note: Single-family detached and attached dwellings as defined in Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Section 89.30). Homeowners must provide valid picture identification (e.g. drivers license, State ID, passport, etc.).
As an owner of property you must hold a valid State of Minnesota Residential Building Contractor License or Residential Remodeler License if you build or improve more than one property within any 24-month period.
A nonresident owner of a property can obtain permits to perform building permit related work. They cannot obtain permits for plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work.
Corporations (e.g. LLC), partnerships, or other similar entities which own dwellings with four (4) or less dwelling units shall be required to obtain the applicable state of Minnesota license in order to apply for building permits (RES permits in ELMS) or they must hire licensed contractors to obtain the permit. If the state determines that a state license is not required, a city-issued residential specialty contractor license shall be required.
Rental property, duplexes, and non-owner occupied single-family houses and townhouses need to use licensed contractors for plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work. Licensed contractors may also be used for building permit related work.
If the homeowner hires someone (a contractor) to do the work and that work requires a permit, then that contractor must be licensed to do that particular type of work.
When using a contractor, the contractor gets the permit on behalf of the homeowner.
Homeowners should not get permits for work done by contractors.
The person who gets the permit is responsible for completing the work correctly.
Each type of permit has unique licensing requirements. Many projects require more than one permit. For information about specific permits, see the links at the left.
Note: Licensed contractors are required by law for certain types of permit work. It is unlawful to knowingly enter into a contract with an unlicensed contractor in these situations. Please consult the Minneapolis Licenses and Consumer Services Division at 612-673-2080 for information regarding the specific situation.
For more information
Applying for a Permit describes the entire permit and inspection process
Finding a Licensed Contractor provides a list of licensed contractors
What do I need to know before applying for a permit?
The answer to this question depends on the type of project that you are doing.
For all projects, you will need:
- Your address
- The legal description of the property
- A description of the scope of the proposed work
If you have a contractor, the contractor will apply for the permit.
Sometimes a site plan, a zoning site review, and/or an inspections plan review are required before a permit can be issued.
How do I apply for a permit?
Homeowners and contractors can apply in person at Minneapolis Development Review center.
Homeowners and contractors can also send a completed permit application by mail. Generally mailed permit applications take approximately one week to process. Permit applications that require a zoning approval or a plan review (see the timeline below) may take up to three weeks or longer.
Single family homeowners should include a copy of their valid Minnesota Driver's License or Minnesota ID showing the property address on the permit application, and either their credit card information or a check or money order for the correct amount.
Contractors can apply online for some permit types. See Home Improvement Permits Online
Do I need an appointment
Not necessarily, if your project is a residential one (1 or 2 family home), you can stop in during the hours of 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday or Thursday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
If your commercial project is not at the point where you can apply for a permit but you would like to talk with a commercial plan reviewer, you can schedule an appointment with a commercial plan reviewer for a Preliminary Commercial Plan Review .
How much does a permit cost
Each type of permit has its own fee schedule, which is based on the value of the work being done. A complete list of permit fees is available in the Title 5 Fee Schedule .
You can pay by check, Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Diner’s Club.
How much time does it take to review an application
The size of your project determines other steps that may need to be taken before obtaining the permit. These steps may include a zoning check, site plan review, and a construction plan review. Please visit the page that addresses your specific project at Homeowner Project Information or Contractor Project Information.
Construction plan review timelines
Timelines depend on the type of construction:
- One or Two Family Dwellings, new or major renovations (15 business days for first submission, five business days for resubmittal)
- Remodeling, Most Additions, Decks, Porches, Garages (10 business days for first submission, five business days for resubmittal)
- Commercial and Multi Family (small to medium projects <50,000 sq. ft./$5,000,000) (20 business days for first submission, 10 business days for resubmittal)
- Commercial and Multi Family (large to complex projects >50,000 sq. ft./$5,000,000) (20 business days for first submission, 10 business days for resubmittal)
Add 10 to 14 business days if project requires Heritage Preservation Commission Review.
What do I do with the permit
Post your permit at the project site.
The last page of your permit has the inspector's name and phone number on it. You should contact the inspector directly if you have questions about your project or to schedule an inspection. You will need the permit number, and the address where the work is being done to schedule an inspection of the work.
If you are issued an inspection record card, post the card at the job site for the inspectors to make notes. Your approved site plan (if any) must be available at each inspection.
How much time do I have to complete the work
Usually you have one year from the date when the permit was issued to complete alterations, repairs, or exterior remodeling.
If you do not complete the work on time, you can be assessed a financial penalty. Extensions to permits can be granted according to the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Section 89.165.
Contact Minneapolis 311 if you need an extension of time to complete your permit.
Can I get a refund if I don’t complete the work
In certain cases and within certain limits, some or all of a permit fee may be refunded if the permitted work will not be completed.
- If the work has not started, the City will charge a $50 processing fee. State Surcharge and Plan Review Fees are deducted separately.
- If the authorized work has been started, the department may retain an appropriate portion of the permit fee in addition to the processing fee.
- A full refund will be made if the department is in error.
- Submit written explanation of refund request within 180 calendar days of payment of the permit fee. Request refunds by mail to Minneapolis Development Review.
- Refunds are paid by check only. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for a refund check to be issued.
Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing by the original applicant within 180 calendar days of payment of the permit fee. Requests for refunds may be mailed to Minneapolis Development Review, Attention Refund.
Refunds are paid by check only. It takes four to six weeks for a refund check to be issued and mailed to the applicant.
For further details, see Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 5 - Building Code, Chapter 91: Permit Fees