Nah, web agrees with you. But I have seen the described situation many times. Just because a cop tells you he sees the lowest forms of behavior, does not mean he practices them himself (he may, or may not)...... In my case, my house is accessed at full (or actually higher than full) value - this is probably because my wife attends a town meeting or two and asks questions - when you do that, the local authorities jack up your taxes because that is one of the few pressure points they can apply. I try to stop her from pissing them off, but it is her hobby. I tell her it is getting expensive for me! Again, don't shoot the messenger. I am merely stating some of the many reasons people don't want government representatives in their homes. Some have meth labs, some grow pot indoors, some rent out rooms, some do remodeling without permits, some hate authority (a mans house is his castle).....point is that behavior is complex, not simple like "who would be so stupid as to not do it for $100". As far as the price of permits and safety, you will find a "way back" thread when I described the cost of gas logs installed into an open fireplace... 1. Way back - our shop used to simply refer a plumber who would install the logs - no permit Logs: $299. Install:$200. ------------- $499 total 2. Now - My old shop installs them in-house and gets permits for all Logs: $399 Installation - Starts at $650 and goes up from there ---------- Total: Well over $1,000 that is, of course, over a 100% increase in the total price to the customer. This is due to paperwork as well as the fact that the installation must be done is stages and inspected at least twice. Again, not complaining about it, just pointing out that it is not $100 difference. The more expensive the job, the less % of the cost that the permit is (in most areas) - also the jobs take a lot longer. In these cases, both customers and contractors are much more likely to comply. But the small jobs, where the permit is actually more work and time than the job itself, are another story. I must admit that here in Western Ma. the process is simple. But a lot of my experience comes from NJ, where you walked in and they handed you a folder with a number of forms in it for any job. Here, they just have one sheet of photocopied paper - more my style. In NJ, you had to even answer on the form how many elevators were in the building! I am not a contractor or store owner any longer. As a homeowner, I got permits for my shop, pellet stove, etc.....but the reality remains that much work goes on without them and I usually withhold judging people since they do things for their own reasons.