Homeowner's Assistance Program

Do you want to skip the trip to City Hall?

While access to City Hall remains limited, please email DOBeasypermit@cityofchicago.org to schedule a virtual homeowner's assistance appointment.

The Department of Buildings’ Homeowner's Assistance Program offers permitting assistance to owner-occupants of single-family homes with small renovation and single-story addition projects. This means that only the owner who lives in the building where the work will occur may apply for assistance (NO ARCHITECTS, EXPEDITORS, or GENERAL CONTRACTORS).

New buildings, second floor additions, dormer additions, and multi-story additions are not eligible to use the Homeowner's Assistance Program. For this type of work, the owner must obtain drawings prepared, signed, and sealed by Illinois-licensed architect or structural engineer. This type of permit application is submitted online by the architect or structural engineer or a city-licensed permit expediter using E-Plan, the City’s electronic permit application and review system.

The Homeowner's Assistance Program can at times become quite busy, especially in the late spring, all summer and the early fall. Homeowners are served on a first come first served basis. Please allow approximately 45 minutes to one hour for applications that require drawings.

Other information to keep in mind:

  • Projects that require special approvals from Zoning, Landmarks, Planning & Development, include a new driveway, are subject to excavation certification requirements, or need required contractors may take longer.
  • Return visits may be necessary to address corrections to drawings, make required changes to drawings and to get additional required information (which may include contractors).
  • Homeowners have the option to hire an expediter or architect to submit plans for permit, at their expense. Expediters and architects are ineligible to use the Home Owner's Assistance Program on behalf of a client. These licensed professionals must utilize the electronic permit application and review system.

Important First Visit Information:

If you have an owner-occupied, single-family home and intend to use the Homeowner Assistance Program to help you prepare the drawings, please bring the following to your first visit:

  • Your sketch floor plans of each floor of your home - as it currently exists and as you propose it to be (show dimensions of new construction as well as size and location of all new windows and doors)
  • A survey of your property (for all exterior work including but not limited to additions, porches and decks)
  • Printed photographs of the front, rear and both sides of your home
  • Depending on the type and complexity of your project, your program representative may provide you with a Homeowner Assistance Checklist to guide you in gathering additional documentation, which may include the following: Electrical Application, Owner’s Responsibility Form, Updated Surveys (2), Landmark Approval Letter, Excavation Certification, Aldermanic Acknowledgment Letter, or Certification of Zoning Compliance.
  • Applicants are required to bring the checklist to all required visits to the Homeowner’s Assistance Program. Failure to do so may result in an extended permit time.
  • Program representatives will use the information provided to assist the applicant with creating the required drawings.
  • These drawings (from the Homeowner Assistance program), while satisfactory for obtaining a building permit, are usually not sufficiently detailed or complete enough to inform contractors making bids or to guide contractors in the application of specific construction details, the installation of fixtures or the application of desired finish materials.
  • Program representatives will also check for an outstanding building code violations, which may need to be addressed prior to or concurrent with your building permit application.


City Hall, Room 900
121 N. LaSalle Street


Monday through Friday
(8:30 am to 4:30 pm)
Lunch break
(12:30 pm to 1:30 pm)

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