In my county the inspectors will have a fairly blind eye toward existing violations if they are not within the scope of the new, permitted work. I suppose it is just a way not to scare off people who want to get permits on old houses.
I assume they wouldn't walk away from a serious safety issue tho. I am still not sure how they tag it.
When I was working, I found that if you could explain the hazard well enough, they would fix it, even without invoking the power of the tag.