San Diego

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Vacant Property Rehabilitation Programs

The City of San Diego implemented in 1996 the Vacant Properties Program to improve the social and economic health of the City of San Diego by returning vacant boarded properties to productive use in the economy. Using a variety of incentives and code enforcement methods, the program works with property owners to eliminate all impediments that keep owners from rehabilitating their properties, or selling them to other parties who will.

The Vacant Properties Program is responsible for developing public/private partnerships to identify potential resources to rehabilitate boarded properties. Through partnerships with various community-based groups the program generates job training and skill developing opportunities for nonprofit organizations working in the redevelopment and construction industry and provides opportunities for affordable housing.

How does the City know when a property becomes vacant and unsecured?

The City regularly obtains referrals from partners such as Neighborhood Watch Groups, Community-Planning Groups, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team, field inspectors and concerned citizens.

Does the City of San Diego own the properties in the Vacant Properties Program?

No, the City does not own these properties. The properties are privately owned.

Does the City have the authority to sell these properties?

No, the City does not have the authority to sell privately owned property, the City may only refer tax defaulted properties to the County Tax Assessor. The County will then sell that property at an auction if the property has defaulted taxes for more than three consecutive years.

Why is the City of San Diego so concerned with privately owned vacant properties?

Vacant properties attract criminals as prime locations to conduct criminal activities, are extremely vulnerable to being set on fire by unauthorized persons, are a blight and eyesore to the community, pose serious threats to the public's health, safety and welfare of surrounding residents and adjacent properties and are therefore declared by The Council of the City of San Diego a public nuisance.

I own/am the responsible party for a vacant property, what are my duties and responsibilities?

  • Owners/responsible parties of vacant structures are required by San Diego Municipal Code 54.0306 to clean and secure or board the structure and maintain it clean at all times. The standards for boarding a vacant structure are identified in San Diego Municipal Code 54.0308.
  • Removal of all waste, rubbish, weeds or debris from the interior and exterior of the structures.
  • Barricade all unsecured doors, windows and exterior openings according to City specifications.
  • Post the property with signs to prevent unlawful occupancy and trespassing.

If I am unable/unwilling to clean and secure my property, what will happen next?

You will be issued a Notice of Abatement to clean and secure your property, you have 10 days to comply with or to appeal the notice; on the 11th day the City will clean and secure the premises through a procedure called Administrative Abatement and recover the costs through a Cost Confirmation Hearing.

My vacant structure is clean, and secured/boarded, now what?

Owners/responsible parties of vacant structures are required by the San Diego Municipal Code 54.0313 to submit for approval a Statement of Intent to bring the property into productive use. The Statement of Intent must include the following:

  • Expected period of vacancy
  • A maintenance plan during period of vacancy
  • A plan and time line for the lawful occupancy, rehabilitation or demolition of the structure

What are the consequences for not filing a Statement of Intent?

Failure to submit a Statement of Intent is considered a misdemeanor and your case may be referred to the Criminal Division of the Office of the City Attorney for compliance.

My Statement of Intent and time line have been approved, and I plan to rehabilitate/sell/demolish the property; what happens if I don't follow the Statement of Intent and timeline?

Owners/responsible parties are required by San Diego Municipal Code 54.0314 to demonstrate a good faith and diligent effort to implement the Statement of Intent. A penalty of $250 may be imposed for every 90 days the structure remains vacant and/or your case may be referred to the Office of the City Attorney for compliance.

What resources or forms of assistance does the City of San Diego provide to owners/responsible parties of vacant/boarded structures?

The City has committed resources and partnerships to assist owners during the rehabilitation process, sale of the structure or demolition. Partnerships for the rehabilitation of vacant/boarded structures exist with realtors, lending agencies, contractors, and non-profit organizations working to provide opportunities for affordable housing.

What financial resources are available for the rehabilitation of my vacant/boarded structure?

The Vacant Properties Program manages a grant for the rehabilitation of vacant and boarded structures for low income level individuals and whose property is located within the following areas: Sherman Heights, Barrio Logan/Logan Heights, City Heights, Centre City East, Chollas View, Golden Hill, Memorial, Mountain View, Mount Hope, Oak Park, Stockton and Webster. Additional assistance is available through financial partners, such as the City's Housing Commission and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.

How do I protect my vacant property from urban predators and criminal activity?

You may contact the San Diego Police Department or the Vacant Property Coordinator to obtain a Trespass Arrest Authorization form. This consent form allows the San Diego Police Department to question and remove unauthorized individuals from your property.

Whom do I contact for assistance?

Code Enforcement Division
Vacant Properties Coordinator
1222 First Ave., Fifth Floor, MS 511
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-5500

I live next to a Vacant Property, what do I do?

If there is illegal activity occurring, call the Police Department immediately at 9-1-1. Otherwise, call the Code Enforcement Complaint Intake Line at (619) 236-5500.


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