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Community Justice Division

Code Enforcement Unit (CEU)

Code Enforcement Unit
Office of the City Attorney
1200 Third Ave., Suite 700
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 533-5500
Email: cityattorney@sandiego.gov

The Code Enforcement Unit was created to enforce a variety of land use regulations which affect San Diego's quality of life, as well as address public nuisance violations negatively affecting neighborhoods. Today, the unit serves as a model nationwide to other cities seeking to establish an aggressive code enforcement program which maintains strong partnerships with code enforcement personnel, law enforcement, community members and other public agencies. CEU Deputies receive cases from a variety of City disciplines that enforce San Diego's housing, zoning, building, litter, sign, fire and health and safety ordinances. The types of violations prosecuted include public nuisances, substandard housing, abandoned and structurally unsafe buildings, illegal dumping or storage, illegal businesses, fire hazards, destruction of environmentally sensitive land, un-permitted uses in residential zones, and water theft. These cases are filed either criminally as misdemeanors, or civilly, seeking injunctive relief. Prosecution typically results in high fines and penalties, the recovery of restitution and investigative costs, and innovative sentencing terms. Early involvement in addressing code violations is essential so that violators are held accountable and problem properties are quickly put to legal productive use. Otherwise, ongoing violations attract crime, diminish property values and community pride, and result in the further deterioration of properties. An important function of CEU is participation in the City's Drug Abatement Response Team (DART) which consists of a prosecutor, a housing inspector from the Code Enforcement Division, and the police. The team specifically identifies problem properties with ongoing narcotic activity and develops an appropriate long term strategy to abate the drug and nuisance activity.

Hoarding cases are sometimes referred to the City Attorney's Office, Code Enforcement Unit. The CEU prosecutor works closely with City Departments, Police, and other agencies to address health and safety and nuisance issues while ensuring that the hoarder receives appropriate assistance from social service agencies and mental health professionals. When appropriate, court actions are filed resulting in an abatement order to clean the premises. For additional information visit the San Diego Hoarding Collaborative.