How to Properly Identify a Property

It’s difficult for a permitting or planning department to help you with your questions unless you have a good identification of the subject property or PIP (Properly Identifying the Property) as well call it. But, from where you stand it’s hard to get an accurate read on what the property actually is, which jurisdiction does it fall under, who do you talk to about utilities, how do you get those utilities turned on (our Northern Californian friends can tell you all about that). So much information is rolling around and, even for a veteran, it can be frustrating to get a straight answer about a property. Here at Permit Place our research division follows a three step process to help not only identify a property but also research everything that has happened in the life of a parcel. I’m going to outline our process to help make your life easier (I know giving away our trade secrets!).


Step 1. Validate the Property’s Jurisdiction. This sounds like a dummy step, but the devil is truly in the details. In order to properly validate a property you will need 2 things:

-Assessor Parcel Number (APN). This can be found on your property Tax ID.

-Current Address. Sometimes, if you have an accurate current address, you can sleuth out the APN

With these 2 peices of information our researchers then go to the Jurisdiction Having Authority (JHA) they think it will be. Most JHA’s now have an assessor’s website affiliated with them where you can input your information. But, if they don’t you have to call them up. This is where a lot of time is spent, on hold with a JHA. Most of the time the JHA will verify the property is in their JHA or will point you in the right direction. Once you find the JHA for the property, our researchers ask for ALL historical addresses. This is where you get to play CSI with your property. Over time street names and towns change. Compiling a list of all known addresses associated with the APN really helps you save time.

Step 2. Site Investigation Report (SIR) for the Property. This is where you will identify exactly what your property is. With the information you got from your JHA’s records office you can now go to the JHA’s planning department’s website and find the following information:

-Zoning for property

-Codes for the building(s)

-Health stadards for property

-Existing entitlements, if any

-Public Health Standards for property

-Environmental Requirements for property

-Fire Department Regulations

Step 3. Double-check Your Information. As the saying goes “Assuming makes an….” Assuming you, or a co-worker, haven’t made mistakes somewhere along the SIR step is an unwise decision. In the interest of time the thought is appealing, however, doing a quick double-check of your information by matching it with the original information you were provided with is your best course of action.


These three steps can help you get the PIP of the project. Permit Place will do this for your project at no extra cost! Call us 818-786-8960 or request a quote through our website.

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