Unpermitted Work

Unpermitted Work

Commonly Asked Questions: 

When is a building permit required?

Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this Code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the Building Official and obtain the required permit.
(San Leandro Municipal Code Title VII, Chapter 5, Section 105)

How do I know if construction work is permitted?

Permitted projects can be confirmed and tracked via the San Leandro Citizen Portal (Accela), available HERE.
Select the Building tab at the top of the page, then enter the street address in the boxes.

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 m2).
2. Fences not over 7 feet (2.13 m) 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 m) 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 L) 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 m) 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 m) deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,925 L) 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 mm) 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 m) in height.
14. A tree house, provided that:

It does not exceed 64 square feet (5.95 m2) in area or more than 15 ft. (4.57 m) 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)

What is an unpermitted structure?

No person shall own, use, occupy or maintain any "Unpermitted Structure."

For the purposes of this Code, "Unpermitted Structure" shall be defined as any structure, or portion thereof, that was erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, connected, converted, demolished, or equipped, at any point in time, without the required permit(s) and approvals having first been obtained from the Building Official.
(San Leandro Municipal Code Title VII, Chapter 5, Section 105.1.1)

I was given a Stop Work order on my property. How do I request an appointment with the Building Inspector?

If a Building Inspector has asked you to contact the Division of Building and Safety for information about how to legalize your unpermitted work, please read through this handout carefully and follow the materials checklist and set up an appointment.