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 52-19. 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 Ordinance 52-19, 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.
According to Section 103A.5.1 Definition; A building shall be defined as vacant or abandoned if it (1) unoccupied and unsecured; or (2) it is unoccupied and secured by boarding or other similar means; or (3) it is unoccupied and unsafe as defined in Section 102A of the San Francisco Building Code; or (4) unoccupied and has multiple code violations; or (5) has been unoccupied for over 30 days.
Failure to register annually a vacant or abandoned commercial storefront per legislation shall subject the property owner of record to penalties under San Francisco Building Code Sections 102A, 103A, Sections 110A. Fee Tables and other applicable sections of the San Francisco Municipal Code. A partial refund of the registration fee will be available if the commercial storefront becomes occupied within the 12 month period of annual registration.
If your commercial storefront is vacant or abandoned, please complete the registration form found below after clicking on “Register Your Building”. Once you’ve completed the form, you can send to the Code Enforcement Division, 1660 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 with a check with the registration fee amount of $711 or you can visit our office on the sixth floor at 1660 Mission Street and pay upon arrival.
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