Cost of home-improvement permits to soar

San Francisco is set to increase permit fees for commercial building and for homeowners who remodel or rebuild their residences — a plan that city officials say will improve customer service at the Department of Building Inspection and close the agency’s projected $14.8 million deficit for next fiscal year.

The increased fees, approved Monday by the Building Inspection Commission, are expected to take effect by October if the proposal is approved by the Board of Supervisors, according to department director Isam Hasenin.

The fees were last overhauled in 1992, Hasenin said.

Under the new fee proposal, the price for a basic electrical-permit fee for a bathroom or kitchen remodel would nearly double to $160. The maximum fee for a permit for up to $50,000 worth of home improvements would increase 29 percent to $1,600.

The proposed fees are basedon an hourly charge of $170 for work by an inspector — more than double the current rate of $80, which was set in 2002.

The commission also voted to adopt a 188-point action plan to improve service and speed up turnaround times for permit applications, including new online services. The plan helped secure support for the fee increase from industry representatives who attended Monday’s meeting.

“Our members have to spend an hour on the phone scheduling two or three inspections, which is something that should be done very quickly,” Residential Builders Association of San Francisco President Sean Keighran told The Examiner. “Plans are continuously getting lost in that place.”

The San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents roughly 3,000 landlords, property owners and housing providers, told commissioners in a letter that “San Francisco’s fees are significantly lower than San Jose and Oakland,” and “fair and reasonable adjustments are required” to help the department meet its own costs.

Commissioner Vahid Sattary cast the only vote opposing the proposal. He said the fee increase was excessive because it was based on a projected budget that was greater than this fiscal year’s actual deficit.

Department staff forecast a budget deficit of $14.8 million next year if fees aren’t raised.

jupton@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101 through The City including Park Presidio Boulevard to help keep transit flowing as traffic increases. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Tents fill up a new safe camping site in a former parking lot at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Proposal for major expansion of safe sleeping sites gets cool reception in committee

Supervisor Mandelman calls for creation of more temporary shelter sites to get homeless off streets

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

Most Read