What does not require a building permit?

Exemptions from permit requirements of this Code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this Code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be required for the following:


  1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11 meters squared).
  2. Fences not over 7 feet (2.13 meters) high when located in the rear yard setback area as defined in the Zoning Code.
  3. Oil derricks
  4. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1.22 meters) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or IIIA liquids.
  5. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,925 liters) and the ratio of height to diameter or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
  6. Sidewalks, platforms and driveways not more than 30 inches (0.76 meters) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
  7. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, counter tops and similar finish work in R-3 occupancies.
  8. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
  9. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (0.61 meters) deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,925 liters) and are installed entirely above ground.
  10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
  11. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.
  12. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1,372 millimeters) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support of Group R-3 and U occupancies.
  13. Non-fixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 meters) in height.
  14. A tree house, provided that:
    • It does not exceed 64 square feet (5.95 meters squared) in area or more than 15 feet (4.57 meters) in height and is accessory to a detached one- or two-family dwelling.
    • The structure does not encroach into the setback requirements established by the City of San Leandro Zoning Code Section 2-546.

(San Leandro Municipal Code Title VII, Chapter 5, Section 105.2 (PDF))

Show All Answers

1. When is a building permit required?
2. How do I know if construction work is permitted?
3. What does not require a building permit?
4. What is an unpermitted structure?
5. I was given a Stop Work Order on my property. How do I request an appointment with the Building Inspector?