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Office of the City Attorney

Restoring Quality of Life in Our Neighborhoods

Nuisance Abatement Unit

The Nuisance Abatement Unit (NAU) is a specialized unit within City Attorney Mara W. Elliott’s Office devoted to enforcing public nuisance, land use, and environmental laws. NAU works with the community, the Building & Land Use Enforcement Division of the City Development Services Department, the San Diego Police Department, and other government agencies to proactively preserve and enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods. The unit serves as a nationwide model to cities seeking to establish an aggressive nuisance abatement program. 

Cracking Down on Substandard Housing 

City Attorney Elliott has prioritized addressing substandard living conditions for San Diego’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom are elderly or disabled. In 2018, NAU launched a concerted crackdown on group living facilities where victims are often abused, denied their basic dignity, deprived of basic necessities, and exposed to filth, vermin, and bedbugs. Residents are provided relocation assistance arranged by a Victim Services Coordinator, a position created by the City Attorney to ensure victims residing in substandard conditions find safe housing and are connected to critical social services.

Protecting the Environment and Wildlife 

The City Attorney with California's Department of Fish and Wildlife at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

Under City Attorney Elliott’s leadership, NAU has prosecuted poachers and polluters who flout California’s environmental laws. Working in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NAU protected endangered elephants by prosecuting local traffickers in the biggest ivory bust in California history.

Submit a Community Request for Service  to alert the NAU to any of the following issues:

Community Request for Service

Preserving Neighborhoods

  • Public nuisances that negatively impact neighborhoods, such as problem properties with ongoing crime, such as drug activity, alcohol use, prostitution, graffiti, and transients.
  • Housing violations like substandard dwellings and unsafe living conditions.
  • Building Code violations, including unsafe and dangerous structures and unpermitted construction.
  • Zoning violations, such as unpermitted uses and illegal dwelling units.
  • Abandoned and vacant structures that create a nuisance leading to an increase in criminal activity, blight, and instability in neighborhoods.  NAU’s work has resulted in the rehabilitation of many properties, thereby increasing housing stock and community pride.
  • Fire hazards
  • Perennial remodels
  • Destruction of historical and archeological resources

Environmental Protections

  • Fish and wildlife violations, including poaching and illegal hunting of fish and wildlife
  • Destruction of environmentally sensitive lands
  • Illegal grading
  • Environmental contamination
  • Lead paint hazards
  • Illegal dumping
  • Damage to public infrastructure
  • Illegal transportation, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste

Specialized Abatement Teams

Drug Abatement Response Team (DART)

NNAU is a member of this team which identifies problem properties with ongoing narcotic activity and develops a strategy to abate the drug and nuisance activity.

Red Light Abatement Team (RLAT)

As a member of this team, NAU works to identify properties that are sites for prostitution, lewd activity, and human trafficking and develops a strategy to permanently abate the illegal activities.

Hazardous Waste Taskforce

NAU partners with the San Diego Hazardous Waste Task Force to coordinate the investigation and enforcement of environmental crimes by identifying and reducing the risk associated with the production, handling and storage of hazardous materials and waste. Members of this task force include the FBI, United States Attorney, District Attorney, Air Pollution Control District, sewer agencies, US Environmental Protection Agency, California Highway Patrol, and the California Fish and Wildlife Department