LAS VEGAS (AP) — Clark County residents who converted their garage into a room or built a patio cover without permission are getting a break from code officers.

County building department officials say they’ve started an amnesty program this month that lets homeowners in the unincorporated areas of the county pay normal fees if they admit they didn’t get permits, and clears them of penalties.

Authorities say the typical fee for residential construction projects ranges from $150 to $400. The amnesty period ends Sept. 30.

County building director Ron Lynn says building permits and inspections are meant to keep people safe and protect homes. He says construction that isn’t up to code can cause fires, floods and other damage that may not be covered by insurance.

County leaders authorized the amnesty program in June.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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