Vacant or Abandoned Commercial Storefronts
If you’re a property owner and your commercial storefront is vacant or abandoned, you are required to register by completing an application and submitting annual registration fees to the Department of Building Inspection pursuant to Ordinance 182-14. This applies even if other units in the building are currently occupied. In addition, you need to maintain and secure your property, even if partially unoccupied, to prevent blight and public safety hazards in compliance with Chapter 80 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, the California Environmental Quality Act, and all other applicable building, health, fire, and safety codes.
In March 2019, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to amend this law through File No. 181213/Ordinance 052-19, which took effect on April 22nd. Important changes were made, including:
- Registration of vacant storefront is required within 30-days of the commercial storefront becoming vacant, even if it is actively being offered for rent or lease;
- Annual registration fee payment of $711 is now required at the time of registration;
- Property owners are now required to pay a penalty of four times (4x) the annual registration fee ($2,844) for failure to register a vacant storefront within 30 days of the property being noticed by DBI; and
- An annual safety inspection report is now required from a licensed professional, which is engaged and paid for by the property owner, confirming the storefront’s interior and exterior remains up to code. This annual report is due when the owner renews and pays the storefront’s annual registration.
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