My question involves real estate located in the State of: California
We are commercial tenants of a building built by the present owner and our landlord. Recently we searched the city records for the property and discovered the following:
1. The building had been built around 1990. There were records of building plans, construction permits, inspection, and a certificate of occupancy for the building as a 4800 sq. ft. warehouse. There were no further records of any construction.
2. It appears that the owner, around 1997, added a second floor internally. That is, the building had been built with 25-foot ceilings as a single ground floor, 4800 sq. ft. After using the building as a warehouse for several years, the owner built in a complete second floor using steel beams vertically plus bolts into the exterior walls supporting the second story floors. He added two staircases internally to access the second floor, and then built offices, storage areas and a bathroom on the second floor.
3. The town has no records of this construction. There are no permits or inspections on record after 1990. A person who knows the owner told us, oh, yeah, he knew he should have gotten permits, but he just built the second floor anyway.
We rented the building in 2003. It was verbally presented to us as an 11,000 sq. ft., two-story structure. The lease we signed does not mention any size details, but we rented it because we needed that much space.
Now we are concerned because the construction that created the second floor may have voided the certificate of occupancy. Where can we find information on the California laws that may have been violated when the owner built this internal level, and what is the status of the building's certificate of occupancy? What codes may have been violated?
Thank you in advance for any help.