Want to Report a Violation? How to File a Complaint

The Code Enforcement team helps maintain and improve the quality of San Francisco's neighborhoods by operating programs that ensure public compliance with the City's Planning Code. The team responds to customer complaints of potential Planning Code violations and initiate fair and unbiased enforcement action to correct those violations and educate property owners to maintain code compliance.

To ensure citywide code compliance, the Code Enforcement team works with residents, neighborhood associations, and other City departments, including the Department of Building Inspection, Police Department, Department of Public Health, and the Office of the City Attorneys, in order to ensure the quality of San Francisco's neighborhoods.

The Department of Building Inspection (DBI) handles complaints involving structural issues, accessibility, vacant or abandoned storefronts and hazards involving the Safety Code. File a complaint.

Common Planning Code Violations

Any complaints not directly related to the Planning Code can be reported to other City agencies using the 311 complaints resource.

Each year, the Planning Department responds to over 500 inquiries pertaining to potential land use violations. In most cases, investigation of code violations happens when a citizen reports a potential violation. Examples of violations include construction/demolition, landscaping maintenance, building misuse and inappropriate parking.

The types of violations that are typically reported include:

  • Addition or Removal of Dwelling Unit(s) without Planning Dept. Approval
  • Alteration of Historical Building or Structure without Planning Dept. Approval
  • ATM without Required Setback
  • Demolition without Planning Dept. Approval
  • Exceeding Permitted Hours of Operation
  • Expansion of Non-Conforming Use
  • Failure to Provide Required Bicycle Parking
  • Formula Retail Use (Franchise/chain store) without Planning Dept. Approval
  • Illegal Advertising Sign
  • Illegal Business Sign on Private Property
  • Illegal Massage Establishment
  • Illegal Medical Cannabis Dispensary
  • Illegal Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Uses
  • Non-compliance with Conditions of Approval
  • Obstruction in Front or Rear Setback
  • Operation of Home Business beyond Limitations
  • Removal of Required Landscaping
  • Removal of Required Parking without Planning Dept. Approval
  • Rooming/Boarding House (Group Housing) without Planning Dept. Approval
  • Unpermitted Parking Facility
  • Failure to Install Required Street Tree
  • Use of Required Front or Rear Setback as Parking
  • Wireless Facility without Planning Dept. Approval