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Private Property Complaints and Code Enforcement Services

The mission of Code Enforcement Services is to promote safe and healthy living and working environments while helping to improve the quality of life for all Oaklanders. We strive to administer a fair and unbiased enforcement program to address violations of the Oakland Municipal Codes, city ordinances, and land use regulations.

Report a Violation

Enforcement Process

Progressive Enforcement

Code Enforcement Services uses progressive enforcement to follow up on complaints. Property Owners are notified through the U.S. Postal Service. Note: All notices are allotted 5 consecutive days mailing time plus business days (Monday – Friday) are added based on notice type e.g. 5 days mailing + 30-day notice.

Courtesy Notice

Initial reports of minor property violations are sent a Courtesy Notice that describes the alleged violation. No inspection of the property is conducted. The property owner has (21) days to respond to the notice and may certify that the violations are unfounded or have been corrected by returning the Property Owner Certification form with photographs. By signing the Owner Certification form, the owner also agrees to maintain the property in the future without additional notices. If another complaint is received regarding the same or similar violation and it is verified through inspection by a Building Inspector an immediate fee assessment will be charged and a Notice of Violation will be issued. Additional fees will be assessed if the violation is uncorrected at the end of the 30-day deadline (see Notice of Violation).

Stop Work Order

When a property is found to be working without permits, has exceeded their approved scope of work under issued permits, are not maintaining required "Best Management Practices" for their construction site, or are out of compliance with Planning Conditions of Approval. Inspector will issue a Stop Work Order and penalties will be assessed depending on the severity of the violations. For more information, on the Stop Work Order process please visit: Stop Work Order Procedure.

Notice of Violation

When a violation is verified by a Building Inspector a Notice of Violation is issued that includes a list of violations and corrections that must be made. The property owner has 30 days to correct the violation.

  • If it is determined that a Property Owner Certification has been received regarding the same or similar violation within a year of the complaint an immediate assessment will be charged.
  • If, after re-inspection, the violation has not been corrected a Re-inspection notice will be issued and additional fees will be assessed.
  • If the complaint is regarding blight a Blight Posting will be displayed that advises the property owner to contact the Code Enforcement Inspector to discuss the violations and the necessary steps to abate the violations. If, there is no response from the property owner or the violations are not corrected within the deadline for compliance the City may proceed to contract the Cleanup and secure the property (which may require obtaining an Inspection Warrant). Additional fee assessments will apply for noticing, warrants, contracts, etc.
  • If the property is cleaned by a City contractor a posting “Cleaned by City” with a date will be displayed on the property with contact information to report blight.

Notice of Repeat Violation

When it is determined that the same or similar violation has been verified within 24 months the property owner will immediately be assessed a fee and allowed 10 days to correct the violations. If the violation is not corrected a Re-inspection notice will be issued unless the issue is blight where the City will post the property as blighted and proceed with Cleanup contracting. Non-compliance will accrue additional fees.

Notice of Violation Graffiti

When a complaint is verified a Notice of Violation is mailed to the property owner allowing 10 days to correct the violations for “occupied” buildings, 15 days for “unoccupied” buildings, and 3 days for facilities where “alcoholic beverages are for sale. Fees and administrative assessments will be applied for non-compliance.

Notice of Violation Garbage/Recycling Receptacles

When a complaint is filed regarding garbage/recycling bins left in public view a Courtesy notice is mailed allowing 21 days to correct. If more complaints are received an inspection is scheduled and if verified the property owner receives a Notice of Violation allowing 10 days to correct the issue. If at the time of re-inspection it is found that violations have not been corrected a fee will be assessed. Non-compliance will accrue additional fees.

Order to Abate - Habitability

If after, re-inspection(s) it is determined that the habitable violations still exist or are unabated, the property owner will receive this Order to Abate with timelines for permits, final inspections, and blight conditions. The property owner is given 10 days to respond before the City takes further action to abate the violation. A Compliance Plan may be required (See Compliance Plan). Non-compliance will accrue fee assessments.

Substandard Public Nuisance

Hazardous and unsafe conditions; including landslides, structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical damage, may trigger the most stringent enforcement action of declaring the property Substandard/Public Nuisance and assessing penalties and citations. If, after, re-inspection (s) it is determined that the habitable/substandard conditions on the premises remain deteriorated and health and safety violations remain unabated the property is declared Substandard/Public Nuisance, the Certificate of Occupancy is revoked and Administrative Citations are assessed. The property owner is given 10 days to respond before the City takes further action to abate. A Compliance Plan may be required (See Compliance Plan). Non-Compliance will accrue fee assessments and civil penalties.

Imminent Hazard

Process for immediate mitigation of life-threatening housing and property violation. Whenever a building, structure, portion thereof, or real property is in such immediately dangerous condition due to the existence of or to the perilous risk to the health and welfare of the tenants, property owners, and the community the City may take immediate action that can include vacating the premises and abatement by City contractors of dangerous conditions or defects. Non-compliance will accrue fee assessments and civil penalties.

Cleanup Board-up Program

Blight violations that are not abated by the property owner may be cleaned by private contractors hired by the City. Code Enforcement uses every resource to notify and contact property owners before cleaning the property. Enforcement and contract costs will apply.

Waiver of Time

An agreement to allow the City to Secure and/or Clean-up Blight on private property with the owner agreeing to pay the cost of the Clean-up.

Inspection Warrant

If there are conditions that require entry/access onto a secured private property the Building Department is required to get an Inspection Warrant. The Warrant is an order signed by a judge to allow access for and abatement onto private property for compliance with certain state and local regulations.

Compliance Plan

An agreement with the property owner/agent/buyer to rehabilitate the property, correct housing violations, and pay fee assessments in an agreed timeline.

Foreclosed and Vacant Registration Program

Banks and other lenders are responsible for maintaining properties while in foreclosure. Unsecured, blighted properties are an attractive nuisance for trespassers and illegal dumping. Property Management contact information must be clearly displayed in the front window of the property. The property must remain clear of trash and debris and secured. Registration of the property includes a registration fee, an inspection report, and a maintenance plan. If the property is not registered within 30 days of foreclosure, it is subject to an assessment of citations (OMC Chapter 1.12).

Investor-Owned Property

Requires non-owner occupant buyers of 1-4 unit residential properties that have been in the foreclosure process to register and arrange for an inspection by Building Services. A City inspector will assess the property conditions to determine if they meet the local building codes or whether blight abatement or rehabilitation work is needed. Eligibility requirements for this program are as follows:

  • The property was purchased after March 1, 2013.
  • The new owner does not intend to occupy the property within six months and up to one year.
  • The new owner is not a government, non-profit or charitable entity regulated by federal tax law.
  • The new owner has not applied for City building permits within 90 days of purchase.
  • A Notice of Default was filed on this property against a former owner with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office at any point after November 13, 2006.

Note: If the owner has applied for City building permits to rehabilitate the property within 90 days of purchase, it may be exempt from registration. Staff review is required.

Violation Appeal

Property owners who receive an initial Notice to Violation are provided with a Violation Appeal form that allows them the opportunity to refute the City’s allegation of code enforcement violations at an appeal hearing with an independent hearing officer.

Administrative Appeal

Property owners who have not corrected violations after receiving a Notice of Violation and missing the Violation Appeal deadline may appeal certain notices i.e. Order to Abate and Substandard Public Nuisance noticing using the appeal form included with the notice before an independent hearing officer.

Billing Appeal

Property owners may also appeal fees and liens at an appeal hearing with an independent hearing officer.

Property Improvement Programs

Codes and Forms


Property Owner Resources

Areas of Focus

  • Blight: mattresses, trash, debris, furniture, appliances recyclables, hazardous weeds, graffiti; garbage can stored in public view, etc.
  • Building Code violations: structural, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, etc.. including construction or change of occupancy without permits.
  • Zoning violations: unpermitted business in residential neighborhoods, illegal signs.
  • Vacant buildings and lots: deteriorated, abandoned, or hazardous.
  • Foreclosed and Vacant Registration Program
  • Garbage cans stored in public view
  • Fencing (over 6 ft)
  • Razor/wire/barbed wire

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