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It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish, equip, use, occupy or maintain any building, structure, property, or portions thereof or cause or permit the same to be done in violation of this code.
Any person, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent, who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects, or refuses to comply with, or resists or opposes the execution of any of the provisions of this code, shall be liable for a civil penalty, not to exceed $500 for each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue, which penalty shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the City and County of San Francisco by the City Attorney in any court of competent jurisdiction. Any penalty assessed and recovered in an action brought pursuant to this paragraph shall be paid to the City Treasurer and credited to the Department’s Special Fund.
Any person, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent, who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects, or refuses to comply with, or who resists or opposes the execution of any of the provisions of this code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, unless otherwise provided in this code, and shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for every day such violation, disobedience, omission, neglect or refusal shall continue. Any person who shall do any work in violation of any of the provisions of this code, and any person having charge of such work who shall permit it to be done, shall be liable to the penalty provided.
It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with the posting of any notice provided for in this code, or to tear down or mutilate any such notice posted by the Department.
103A.1 Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 13112, any person who violates any order, rule or regulation of the state fire marshal is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100.00 or more than $500.00, or by imprisonment for not less than six months, or by both. A person is guilty of a separate offense each day during which he or she commits, continues or permits a violation of any provision of, or any order, rule or regulation of, the state fire marshal as contained in this code.
Any inspection authority who, in the exercise of his or her authority as a deputy state fire marshal, causes any legal complaints to be filed or any arrest to be made shall notify the state fire marshal immediately following such action.
103A.2 Actions and proceedings. Subject to other provisions of law, California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Division 1, Chapter 1 commencing with Section 1 and Health and Safety Code, Sections 17980 through 17995.5 address punishments, penalties and fines for violations of building standards in structures subject to the State Housing Law.
103A.2.1 Actions and proceedings. Subject to other provisions of law, California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Division 1, Chapter 2 commencing with Section 1000 and Health and Safety Code, Section 18700 addresses punishments, penalties and fines for violations of building standards subject to the Mobilehome Parks Act.
103A.2.2 Actions and proceedings. Subject to other provisions of law, California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Division 1, Chapter 1 commencing with Section 600 and Health and Safety Code, Sections 17060 through 17062.5 address punishments, penalties and fines for violations of building standards subject to the Employee Housing Act.
103A.3 Restrictions of unlawful residential demolition replacement.
103A.3.1 Demolition without permit. Whenever the demolition of any building or structure containing one or more residential units takes place without the issuance of a demolition permit as required by this code, the site on which the unlawful demolition occurred shall be subject to the following restriction: For five years from the date of the unlawful demolition, no permit authorizing the construction or alteration of any building or structure for that site shall be issued, except for a permit for the construction or alteration of a building or structure with the same number of residential units, with the same proportion of residential to nonresidential units, and with the same or fewer square feet as the building or structure that was unlawfully demolished.
103A.3.2 Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
DEMOLITION means the total tearing down or destruction of a building containing one or more residential units, or any alteration which destroys or removes, as those terms are defined by the Building Official of the Department of Building Inspection, principal portions of an existing structure containing one or more residential units.
PRINCIPAL PORTION means that construction which determines the shape and size of the building envelope (such as the exterior walls, roof and interior bearing elements), or that construction which alters two-thirds or more of the interior elements (such as walls, partitions, floors or ceilings).
RESIDENTIAL UNIT means any dwelling unit, as defined in this code, or any guest room, as defined in the San Francisco Housing Code, other than the following:
1. Any guest room in a building classified as a residential hotel pursuant to the Residential Hotel Unit Conversion and Demolition Ordinance.
2. Any residential unit in a building where the demolition or alteration is required to comply with this code, the Housing Code or the City Planning Code.
103A.3.3 Hearing. The Building Official shall hold a hearing within a reasonable period of time after discovering that an unlawful demolition may have taken place. The Building Official shall cause notice to be given to the owners of the affected property, and to the owners and occupants of property on the same block as the affected property’s site and across the street from the site for one block (that is, on lots which abut the same street as that which abuts the site to the nearest intersections on either side of the site), using the names and addresses of the owners as shown on the last assessment rolls of the City and County of San Francisco. For corner lots, notice shall be provided to the owners and occupants of property on the same block as the affected property’s site and for one block along both streets which the lot abuts (that is, on lots which abut the two streets which the site abuts to the nearest intersection on either side of the site) and, in addition, to the other corner lots at the intersection where the site is located. Notice may be given either by personal service or any mail, not less than 30 days before the scheduled date of the hearing. Immediately after giving such notice, the Building Official shall cause a copy of the notice, printed on a card of not less than 8 inches by 10 inches (203.2 mm × 254 mm), to be posted in a conspicuous place on the affected property. The notice shall specify the date and nature of the hearing and that the following issues will be determined at the hearing: whether an unlawful demolition has taken place as described in Sections 103A.3.1 and 103A.3.2, and, if so, the number of residential units that existed on the site, the proportion of residential to nonresidential units that existed on the site and the total square feet of the building or structure that existed on the site. Upon determination that an unlawful demolition has taken place, the Building Official shall promptly record a notice in the official records of the Recorder of the City and County of San Francisco; the recorded notice shall state that the property is subject to the restrictions set forth in Section 103A.3.1 of this code.
Upon determination that an unlawful demolition has taken place, the Building Official shall assess the owner all costs incurred by the City and County of San Francisco in detecting violations of this section and conducting the Building Official’s hearing by sending a notice of payment due to the property owner at the address shown on the City’s last assessment rolls. The notice shall list the costs incurred by the City in detecting violations of the ordinance and conducting the Building Official’s hearing, advise the owner that he or she is liable for these costs and advise the owner that payment to the City is due within 60 days of the mailing date of the notice. The notice shall also advise that, if payment of the costs is not received within 30 days of the due date, a lien may be imposed on the property pursuant to the report and confirmation procedure set forth in Sections 102A.18 and 102A.19 of this code.
103A.3.4 Civil penalties. Any agent, contractor or other person acting on behalf of the owner of a building or structure containing one or more residential units who causes or permits the demolition of the building or structure with the knowledge that a demolition permit has not been issued as required by this code shall be subject to a civil penalty of $5,000. Any owner who causes or permits the demolition of his or her building or structure containing one or more residential units with the knowledge that no demolition permit has been issued as required by this code shall be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.
103A.3.5 Penalties nonexclusive. The penalties set forth in this section are not exclusive, but are in addition to any other penalties set forth in this code.
103A.4 Vacant or abandoned buildings – Annual registration; registration fee; maintenance and security requirements.
103A.4.1 Definition. A building shall be defined as a vacant or abandoned if it (1) is unoccupied and unsecured; or (2) is unoccupied and secured by boarding or other similar means; or (3) is unoccupied and unsafe as defined in Section 102A of this Code; or (4) is unoccupied and has multiple code violations; or (5) has been unoccupied for over 30 days. A building which is partially unoccupied and has been cited for blight under Chapter 80 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, shall also be deemed a vacant or abandoned building that is subject to this Section. Commercial Storefronts, as defined in Section 103A.5.1 of this Code, located within vacant or abandoned buildings shall be subject to the enforcement provisions in Sections 103A.5-103A.5.6 of this Code.
For purposes of this Section 103A.4 a building shall not be considered vacant or abandoned if:
(1) There is a valid building permit for repair, rehabilitation, or construction of a building on the parcel and the owner completes the repair, rehabilitation, or construction within one year from the date the initial permit was issued; or
(2) The building complies with all codes, does not contribute to blight as defined in Chapter 80 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, is ready for occupancy, and is actively being offered for sale, lease, or rent.
(3) The building complies with all codes, does not contribute to blight as defined in Chapter 80 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, and is undergoing a probate process that does not exceed two years. Upon expiration of the two-year period, the building shall become subject to the requirements of Section 103A.4.
103A.4.2 Property owner’s obligation to register a vacant or abandoned building. The owner of a building defined as vacant or abandoned under Section 103A.4.1 shall register that building with the Department 30 days after it has become vacant or abandoned on a form provided by the Department. The form shall describe the methods by which the owner has secured the property against unauthorized entry, declare any future plans for the property, state whether or not there is fire and liability insurance coverage, and provide such other information as the Department may require. A registration fee shall be paid at the time of registration and annually thereafter. See Section 110A, Table 1A-J for applicable fee.
103A.4.3 Notice. Whenever the Director has probable cause to believe, based upon an inspection, complaint, or report from another agency of the City and County of San Francisco or other governmental agency, that a building is vacant or abandoned and it has not been registered as required by this Section 103A.4, the Director shall serve the owner of record, as shown on the Assessor’s Records, or authorized agent with a written notice requiring the owner to register the building with the Department as vacant or abandoned and pay the registration fee within the period of time specified in the notice, which shall be no greater than 30 days.
103A.4.4 Sign posting. The owner of record of the vacant or abandoned building is required to post a sign at the front of the building, in a conspicuous location protected from the weather, that provides the current name, address, and phone number of the owner of record and authorized agent if different from the owner. If a notice of default or foreclosure has been recorded for the property, the lender’s name, address, and telephone number must also be provided. The sign shall be no smaller than 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches.
103A.4.5 Maintenance and security requirements. The following maintenance and security requirements shall apply to a vacant or abandoned building. The Director has the discretion to modify these requirements in the case of a partially vacant building, and to modify or waive some or all of these requirements in the case of a building that has been damaged by fire, a natural disaster, or other calamity.
103A.4.5.1 Maintenance of property – exterior. The property owner shall actively maintain and monitor the exterior of the building and the grounds so that they remain in continuing compliance with all applicable codes and regulations, and do not contribute to and are not likely to contribute to blight as defined in Chapter 80 of the Administrative Code. Active maintenance and monitoring shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Maintenance of landscaping and plant materials in good condition;
(2) Regular removal of all exterior trash, debris, and graffiti;
(3) Maintenance of the exterior of the building in a good condition that is structurally safe and preserves the physical integrity of the structure, including but not limited to paint and finishes, foundation, roof, chimneys, flues, gutters, downspouts, scuppers, flashing, skylights, windows, exterior stairs and decks;
(4) Prevention of criminal activity on the premises and trespass by unauthorized persons; and
(5) Turning off all utilities that are not necessary for the upkeep and maintenance of the building.
103A.4.5.2 Maintenance of property – interior. The property owner shall preserve the interior of the building from damage by the elements or plumbing leaks, and keep it free from accumulation of garbage and other debris, and from infestation by rodents, insects, or other pests.
103A.4.5.3 Security. The building shall be secured against unauthorized entry. The methods of security shall be as approved by the Director, who shall take into consideration whether the property has been cited for nuisance activities or criminal conduct by another department of the City and County of San Francisco or other government agency.
103A.4.6 Insurance. The owner of record shall maintain whatever fire and liability insurance coverage the Director determines is necessary. Any insurance policy shall require notice to the Department in the event of cancellation of insurance or a reduction in coverage.
103A.4.7 Violation a public nuisance; enforcement. A property in violation of the provisions of this section is deemed to be a public nuisance and subject to enforcement by the Department and penalties under Section 102A and 103A of this Code or under other applicable sections of the San Francisco Municipal Code.
103A.5 Vacant or Abandoned Commercial Storefronts – Annual Registration; Registration Fees; Maintenance and Security Requirements.
VACANT OR ABANDONED. A Commercial Storefront shall be Vacant or Abandoned if it (1) is unoccupied and unsecured; or (2) is unoccupied and secured by boarding or other similar means; or (3) is unoccupied and unsafe as defined in Section 102A of this Code; or (4) is unoccupied and has multiple code violations; or (5) has been unoccupied for over 30 days. Notwithstanding the foregoing sentence, a Commercial Storefront shall not be considered Vacant or Abandoned if
(1) There is a valid building permit for repair, rehabilitation, or construction of the Commercial Storefront and the owner completes the repair, rehabilitation, or construction within one year from the date the initial permit was issued, unless the Department, in its sole discretion, determines that the owner needs additional time to complete the repair, rehabilitation, or construction of the Commercial Storefront; or
(2) The owner or leaseholder has filed an application for, and is actively seeking to obtain, authorization, permits, or a license required by state or local law permitting the lawful use and occupancy of the Commercial Storefront.
103A.5.2 Property owner’s obligation to register a vacant or abandoned commercial storefront; registration fee. The owner of a Vacant or Abandoned Commercial Storefront shall, within 30 days after it has become vacant or abandoned, register the Commercial Storefront with the Department on a form provided by the Department. The form shall describe the methods by which the owner has secured the Commercial Storefront against unauthorized entry, provide a contact phone number for the Commercial Storefront owner or party responsible for maintenance of the Commercial Storefront, state the most recent legal use of the Commercial Storefront, state the square footage of the Commercial Storefront, declare any future plans for the Commercial Storefront, state whether there is fire and liability insurance coverage, and provide such other information as the Department may require. The owner shall pay an annual registration fee, which shall be due when the owner submits the registration form to the Department (“registration payment deadline”). The registration payment deadline will serve as the date for subsequent annual renewals of registration each year the Commercial Storefront remains Vacant or Abandoned (“annual renewal date”). The annual registration fee shall be paid on or before the annual renewal date. However, if the owner rents the Commercial Storefront to a tenant who occupies the premises in a manner that complies with all provisions of state and local law prior to the registration payment deadline, the Commercial Storefront shall be removed from the Department’s registry and the owner shall be refunded up to half of the registration fee based on any remaining days before the Commercial Storefront’s annual renewal date. The registration fee shall be equal to the amount due under Section 103A.4.2 of this Code. See Section 110A, Table 1A-J for applicable fees.
103A.5.3 Annual Report. The owner of a registered Vacant or Abandoned Commercial Storefront shall provide a report from a licensed professional confirming the storefront’s interior and exterior has been maintained, as specified in Sections 103A.4.5.1 and 103A.4.5.2 of this Code (“annual report”). The annual report shall be provided to the Department when the owner renews the storefront’s registration and pays the annual renewal fee.
103A.5.4 Maintenance of vacant or abandoned commercial storefront registry. The Department shall maintain a registry of all Vacant or Abandoned Commercial Storefronts within the City and shall furnish a copy of the registry to the Office of Economic and Workforce Development at least once per fiscal quarter.
103A.5.5 Notice. Whenever the Director has probable cause to believe, based upon an inspection, complaint, or report from another agency of the City or other governmental agency, that a Commercial Storefront is Vacant or Abandoned and has not been registered as required by Section 103A.5.2, the Director shall serve the owner of record, as shown on the Assessor’s Records, or authorized agent with a written notice requiring the owner to register the Commercial Storefront with the Department as Vacant or Abandoned and pay the registration fee within the period of time specified in the notice, which shall be no greater than 30 days. The Department shall issue a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) pursuant to Section 102A.4 of this Code to owners that fail to register within the period of time specified in the notice. See Section 110A, Table 1A-K, Failure to register vacant commercial storefront, for the applicable penalty.
103A.5.6 Sign posting, maintenance, security, and insurance. All requirements listed in Sections 103A.4.4-103A.4.6 of this Code shall also apply to Vacant or Abandoned Commercial Storefronts. All such requirements shall be fulfilled by the owner within 30 days of the Commercial Storefront becoming Vacant or Abandoned, or within 30 days of the issuance of notice to register.
103A.5.7 Violation a public nuisance; enforcement. A Commercial Storefront in violation of this Section 103A.5, including Sections 103A.5.1-103A.5.7, is deemed to be a public nuisance and subject to enforcement by the Department and penalties under Sections 102A and 103A and Section 110A, Table 1A-K of this Code or other applicable sections of the Municipal Code.
103A.6 Expanded Compliance Control and permit review.
103A.6.1 Significant violation tracking reports. When a building inspector issues a Notice of Violation in which there is an instance of:
(1) Misrepresentation of existing conditions or project scope that results in circumvention of notification or review requirements 1
(2) Structural work or demolition of structural features without or beyond the scope of a building permit 1
(3) Work under permit performed by a party without required license; or
(4) Other substantial non-compliance;
Inspection Services Division shall log the violation and identify all individuals, agents, and other entities associated with the permit and/or project in the Permit Tracking System or known to be associated with the permit and/or project at the time the Notice of Violation is issued in the Compliance Control Tracking File maintained by the Inspection Services Division. The Compliance Control Tracking File is for internal purposes only; an individual, agent, or entity’s presence in the file does not indicate responsibility for any violation or misconduct.
103A.6.2 Candidates for Expanded Compliance Control.
(1) The Inspection Services Division shall review the Compliance Control Tracking File on a monthly basis to determine if any project, individual, agent, or entity has been associated with three or more reported violations described in 103A.6.1 within the last 18 months. Any such project, individual, agent, or entity shall be a candidate for Expanded Compliance Control.
(2) Even if the three-or-more-violations standard is not met during the 18-month period, the Department, in consultation with the City Attorney, may designate a project, individual, agent, or entity as a candidate for Expanded Compliance Control for any violation or violations that the Department determines, individually or together, to be egregious and create significant risk to health, safety, or property.
103A.6.3 Expanded Compliance Control List.
103A.6.3.1 Factors. In determining whether to include any candidate on the Expanded Compliance Control List, the following factors shall be considered: the candidate’s role and conduct that contributed to the violations; any impacts on individual or public health, and safety; whether the misrepresentation of existing conditions or the misrepresentation of project scope was reckless or intentional to avoid permit review or notification requirements; the extent of the demolition or work that occurred without or beyond the scope of a building permit or without the necessary license or certification; any impacts on historically significant structures; prospective undervaluation of the construction cost that resulted in lower permit fees from the violations; and the number, frequency, and severity of violations.
103A.6.3.2 Process. For each project, individual, agent, or entity designated as a candidate for Expanded Compliance Control, the following actions shall be taken:
(1) Inspection Services staff, designated by the Director of the Department of Building Inspection, shall notify the candidate and request any exculpatory information as to why Expanded Compliance Control is not warranted and shall draft a summary report detailing the violation(s) and exculpatory evidence or arguments, if any, relevant to whether the candidate warrants Expanded Compliance Control.
(2) The summary report shall conclude with a determination 1
(a) that the candidate should be placed on the Expanded Compliance Control List, and provide written findings, including but not limited to findings in response to the factors described in 103A.6.3.1, supporting that determination; or
(3) The Director of the Department of Building Inspection shall review all Expanded Compliance Control determinations made by designated staff and shall make a final determination either affirming or overruling ir1 determination. The Director shall either adopt the staff findings or issue the Director’s own written findings detailing the basis for the final determination. The Department shall notify the candidate in writing of the Director’s final determination and shall post the final determination on the Department’s website in a manner that complies with section 104A.6.
(4) Any person may appeal the Director’s final determination to the Building Inspection Commission pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 77 of the Administrative Code.
(5) The Director shall maintain the Expanded Compliance Control List on the Department’s website and shall provide the list to the Building Inspection Commission on a quarterly basis commencing when the first project, individual, agent, or entity is placed on the list.
103A.6.4 Expanded Compliance Control Provisions.
103A.6.4.1 Duration. Any project, individual, agent, or entity placed on the Expanded Compliance Control List (“listee”) shall remain on the list for five years. Any subsequent significant violation(s), as defined in subsection 103A.6.1, by a listee shall extend the period of Expanded Compliance Control for that listee by five years from the date of the subsequent violation(s).
103A.6.4.2 Measures. Upon placing a project, individual, agent, or entity on the Expanded Compliance Control List, the Department shall take the following actions:
(1) Refer the listee to any applicable licensing board or regulatory agency with the Director’s final determination and written findings;
(2) Require all existing permit applications and addenda and any new applications or addenda submitted by or containing reference to the listee undergo Expanded Compliance Control by senior Plan Review Services staff and multi-station (all permit stations applicable to a given permit) review at intake and after the Planning Department approves the Site Permit (if applicable); and notify all parties listed on the applications or addenda for these permits of the Expanded Compliance Control requirement;
(3) Require site inspections by the Department of Building Inspection and Planning Department prior to issuing any permit submitted by or containing reference to the listee;
(4) Require that a licensed contractor be named on the permit prior to issuance, unless the applicant is filing for the permit as an Owner-Builder, in conformance with California Health and Safety Code Section 19825;
(5) Dedicate a Senior Inspector to perform inspections and respond to any complaints or requests regarding the listee; and
(6) If warranted, consult with the City Attorney about any additional enforcement actions.
103A.6.5 Permit review staff training. No later than September 30, 2021, the Department shall provide written guidance and conduct training sessions for all plan review staff on how to recognize and flag permits that signal potential abuse 1 All guidance and training materials and procedures shall be prepared with a goal of being sensitive to the cultural differences of individuals, agents, and other entities associated with permits and/or projects as well as current and future building occupants, workers, or adjacent neighbors. Further, the Department shall create and implement guidelines for staff to escalate any permits that indicate potential abuse to senior review staff for their review and refer such permits to the Planning Department to ensure they are consistent with preceding Planning Department approvals.
(Added by Ord. 40-21, File No. 210015, App. 3/26/2021, Eff. 4/26/2021)
1. So in Ord. 40-21.