Building Department and ADU Update


The Code Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (“Building Department”) held a discussion with the public and with Building Department officials on December 8, 2021 to discuss concerns about the impact of suspending Information Sheet EG-02, which allowed a local equivalency for Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings (EEROs), opening into a yard with a minimum 25-foot depth. While the conversation did not result in an immediate solution, and the Building Department is unable to reinstate the equivalency because it is in direct violation of the building and fire codes, the Building Department stated their priority is to keep working with projects to try and find an alternate design. A recommendation was made that the Building Department work to create a task force to address this issue.

Ordinance 208-21: Additional Required Noticing for ADUs Now In Effect

On December 12, 2021, Ordinance No. 208-21, amending the Planning Code to clarify the requirements for applications to construct Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADU”) under the City’s local Accessory Dwelling Unit approval process, went into effect.

This Ordinance is intended, in part, to clarify the existing rules in the Rent Ordinance as to housing services. The term housing services refers to services provided by the landlord connected with the use or occupancy of a rental unit, including, but not limited to, access to areas such as garages, driveways, storage spaces, laundry rooms, decks, patios, gardens on the same lot, and kitchen facilities or lobbies in single room occupancy (SRO) hotels. This Ordinance clarifies that landlords may not sever, remove, or reduce housing services without just Notification.

Prior to submitting an ADU application, an owner must file a declaration with the Rent Board demonstrating the project will comply with the requirements of the Rent Control & Eviction Ordinance.

The declaration is to include: (1) a description of housing services supplied in connection with the use or occupancy of any units on the property that are located in the area of the property or building where the ADU would be constructed; (2) whether construction of the ADU would result in the severance, substantial reduction, or removal of any such housing services; and (3) whether any just causes for eviction would apply.

An owner must also mail or deliver notice to each unit (including unauthorized units) at the subject property at least 15 calendar days prior to submitting the application. The property owner shall submit proof of these notices to the Planning Department as part of the application to construct an ADU. These notices shall have a format and content determined by the Zoning Administrator, and shall generally describe the project, including the number and location of the proposed ADU(s), and shall include a copy of the written declaration required.

Tenants may contest the information in the declaration by petition to the Rent Board within 30 days after notice. The Rent Board will make determination and send to Planning within 90 days of receipt of petition.


Authored by Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP Manager, Post Entitlement Division Gillian Allen.

The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient.  Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein.  Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP is a full service real estate law firm.  We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law.  We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.