Residential Building Services
Our inspectors ensure the safety of Oakland residents and workers by citing property owners who do not maintain their buildings in accordance with state and city codes. A City inspector issues a violation notice when a property is found to be in violation of an ordinance designed to ensure public safety and the safety of building inhabitants.
If you receive a violation notice, it is essential that you take the corrective actions specified on the notice within the time stated to avoid fines and fees. Visit our Code Enforcement Page for more information.
Foreclosed and Defaulted Residential Registration and Inspection Program
To protect and preserve the livability, appearance and social fabric of Oakland, the City requires lenders and other responsible parties to register, inspect, and maintain foreclosed and defaulted residential property. Learn more about the program.
Investor-Owned Residential Registration, Inspection and Rehabilitation Program (for formerly defaulted or foreclosed properties) (IOP)
This program was designed to address the decline of neighborhood livability and health and safety problems that have arisen from high levels of foreclosure activity in Oakland. Non-owner occupant purchasers of 1-4 unit residential property that has been in some stage of the foreclosure process at any point since November 2006 must register and arrange for an inspection by Code Enforcement Staff. .
Given Oakland's location along the Hayward Fault, seismic strengthening of residences—known as seismic retrofitting—can not only save lives, but also housing stock, better enabling Oakland to withstand the short- and long-term effects of a major disaster.
To encourage homeowners to complete these life- and property-saving retrofits, City Council approved Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 15.30.050, which incorporated basic retrofit standards into the City’s Municipal Code and established a flat retrofit permit fee of $250. Currently, any homeowner of a one- to-two story, single family or duplex residence who desires to retrofit for seismic safety is eligible for the $250 flat retrofit permit fee, provided the retrofit plan meets the current seismic
Soft Story Buildings
A soft-story building is a structure constructed before 1991 which has large ground-floor openings (parking garage, store-front windows) with slender columns supporting the upper stories. Soft-story buildings are particularly likely to lean or collapse in an earthquake.
A 2009 ordinance (12966 CMS) mandated that owners of certain residential buildings provide simple and low-cost information to the City about their buildings' ground-floor structural supports (dimensions, materials, photographs, floor plan). The 2009 ordinance does not require any type of structural retrofit.
Approximately 90 percent of building owners have responded with screening forms providing a structural assessment of their buildings. At this time the City is not accepting screening forms for the remaining 10 percent of buildings because it is anticipated that an ordinance will be adopted requiring mandatory seismic retrofitting of soft story buildings and any missing screening forms will be addressed as part of a retrofit program.
The City is drafting a seismic retrofit program for soft story buildings for consideration at a future City Council meeting. Staff have consulted with stakeholder groups including tenants and building owners and there has been a series of community forums to present and discuss the issues.
In 2010 the City adopted a new green building ordinance for private development projects including new construction, additions, tenant improvements, and remodels. In addition, to Oakland's local green building ordinance, new construction projects will need to comply with the California Green building Code also known as CALGreen. Click here to visit the City's Green Building website to learn how this ordinance and CALGreen may effect you as well as find the tools and resources to help you succeed with your green building project.