City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Apartment Inspection Fee Update

Legislative Updates ,

California law mandates that all residential occupancies with three or more attached units be inspected annually. The state allows for a jurisdiction to charge a fee to cover the cost of performing the inspection. The city’s current fee schedule was adopted by city ordinance and took effect on July 1, 2022. The fee schedule titled “FCIP-Residential” applies to all non-highrise residential occupancies required by the state to be inspected annually. 

For many years, only buildings with 3 or more stories were subject to inspection. The city has updated their processes to comply with state law. The respective portions of the state code are below. 

SCRHA is working to schedule a webinar with City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to review the new fees, updated inspection requirements, and revisit the specifics of the mandatory fire alarm retrofit requirement that applies to certain properties. 

CCR Title 19 
1.11.4.1 Other fees. 

Pursuant to Health and Safety Code, Section 13146.2, a city, county or district which inspects a hotel, motel, lodging house or apartment house may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure in an amount, as determined by the city, county or district, sufficient to pay its costs of that inspection. 

GROUP R OCCUPANCIES
Group R-1 and R-2 Occupancies 

Description
Health and Safety Code, §17921 (b)

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the department shall propose the adoption, amendment, or repeal of building standards to the California Building Standards Commission pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18935) of Part 2.5, and the department shall adopt, amend, and repeal other rules and regulations for the protection of the public health, safety, and general welfare of the occupant and the public governing the erection, construction, enlargement, conversion, alteration, repair, moving, removal, demolition, occupancy, use, height, court, area, sanitation, ventilation and maintenance of all hotels, motels, lodging houses, apartment houses, and dwellings, and buildings and structures accessory thereto. Except as otherwise provided in this part, the department shall enforce those building standards and those other rules and regulations. The other rules and regulations adopted by the department may include a schedule of fees to pay the cost of enforcement by the department under Sections 17952 and 17965. 

Fire Marshal Responsibility per California State Law - March, 2011 
(b) The State Fire Marshal shall adopt, amend, or repeal and submit building standards for approval pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18935) of Part 2.5, and the State Fire Marshal shall adopt, amend, and repeal other rules and regulations for fire and panic safety in all hotels, motels, lodging houses, apartment houses and dwellings, buildings, and structures accessory thereto. These building standards and regulations shall be enforced pursuant to Sections 13145 and 13146; however, this section is not intended to require an inspection by a local fire agency of each single-family dwelling prior to its occupancy. 

Authority to Inspect
Health and Safety Code, §13146.2 

(a) Every city or county fire department or district providing fire protection services required by Sections 13145 and 13146 to enforce building standards adopted by the State Fire Marshal and other regulations of the State Fire Marshal shall, annually, inspect all structures subject to subdivision (b) of Section 17921, except dwellings, for compliance with building standards and other regulations of the State Fire Marshal. 

(b) A city, county, or district that inspects a structure pursuant to subdivision (a) may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure in an amount, as determined by the city, county, or district, sufficient to pay the costs of that inspection. A city, county, or district that provides related fire and life safety activities may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure in an amount, as determined by the city, county, or district, sufficient to pay the costs of that inspection. 

(c) The State Fire Marshal, or his or her authorized representative, who inspects a structure subject to subdivision (b) of Section 17921, except dwellings, for compliance with building standards and other regulations of the State Fire Marshal, may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure. The State Fire Marshal may also charge and collect a fee from the owner of the structure for related fire and life safety activities, such as plan review, construction consulting, fire watch, and investigation. Any fee collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be in an amount, as determined by the State Fire Marshal, sufficient to pay the costs of that inspection or those related fire and life safety activities. 

Responsibility to Inspect
Health and Safety Code, §17921 (b) 

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the department shall propose the adoption, amendment, or repeal of building standards to the California Building Standards Commission pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18935) of Part 2.5, and the department shall adopt, amend, and repeal other rules and regulations for the protection of the public health, safety, and general welfare of the occupant and the public governing the erection, construction, enlargement, conversion, alteration, repair, moving, removal, demolition, occupancy, use, height, court, area, sanitation, ventilation and maintenance of all hotels, motels, lodging houses, apartment houses, and dwellings, and buildings and structures accessory thereto. Except as otherwise provided in this part, the department shall enforce those building standards and those other rules and regulations. The other rules and regulations adopted by the department may include a schedule of fees to pay the cost of enforcement by the department under Sections 17952 and 17965. 

(b) The State Fire Marshal shall adopt, amend, or repeal and submit building standards for approval pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18935) of Part 2.5, and the State Fire Marshal shall adopt, amend, and repeal other rules and regulations for fire and panic safety in all hotels, motels, lodging houses, apartment houses and dwellings, buildings, and structures accessory thereto. These building standards and regulations shall be enforced pursuant to Sections 13145 and 13146; however, this section is not intended to require an inspection by a local fire agency of each single-family dwelling prior to its occupancy. 

Inspection Frequency
Health and Safety Code, §13146.2 

(a) Every city or county fire department or district providing fire protection services required by Sections 13145 and 13146 to enforce building standards adopted by the State Fire Marshal and other regulations of the State Fire Marshal shall, annually, inspect all structures subject to subdivision (b) of Section 17921, except dwellings, for compliance with building standards and other regulations of the State Fire Marshal. 

(b) A city, county, or district that inspects a structure pursuant to subdivision (a) may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure in an amount, as determined by the city, county, or district, sufficient to pay the costs of that inspection. A city, county, or district that provides related fire and life safety activities may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure in an amount, as determined by the city, county, or district, sufficient to pay the costs of that inspection. 

Fire Marshal Responsibility per California State Law - March, 2011
15 

(c) The State Fire Marshal, or his or her authorized representative, who inspects a structure subject to subdivision (b) of Section 17921, except dwellings, for compliance with building standards and other regulations of the State Fire Marshal, may charge and collect a fee for the inspection from the owner of the structure. The State Fire Marshal may also charge and collect a fee from the owner of the structure for related fire and life safety activities, such as plan review, construction consulting, fire watch, and investigation. Any fee collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be in an amount, as determined by the State Fire Marshal, sufficient to pay the costs of that inspection or those related fire and life safety activities. 

Ability to Modify Regulations Locally
See Health and Safety Code, §13143.5, 17958, 17958.5, 17958.7 and 17958.8 

Ability to Charge an Inspection Fee
Health and Safety Code, §13143.5 (f) (2) 

(a) Notwithstanding Part 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 12, Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 17910) of Division 13, and Part 2.5 (commencing with Section 18901) of Division 13, any city, county, or city and county may, by ordinance, make changes or modifications that are more stringent than the requirements published in the California Building Standards Code relating to fire and panic safety and the other regulations adopted pursuant to this part. Any changes or modifications that are more stringent than the requirements published in the California Building Standards Code relating to fire and panic safety shall be subject to subdivision (b) of Section 18941.5. 

(b) Nothing in this section shall authorize a local jurisdiction to mandate, nor prohibit a local jurisdiction from mandating, the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems within newly constructed dwelling units or in new additions to existing dwelling units, including, but not limited to, manufactured homes as defined in Section 18007. 

(c) Nothing in this section shall authorize a local jurisdiction to mandate, nor prohibit a local jurisdiction from mandating, the retrofitting of existing dwelling units for the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems, including, but not limited to, manufactured homes as defined in Section 18007. 

(d) Nothing in this section shall apply in any manner to litigation filed prior to January 1, 1991, regarding an ordinance or regulation which mandates the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems within newly constructed dwelling units or new additions to existing dwelling units. 

(e) This section shall not apply to fire and panic safety requirements for the public schools adopted by the State Fire Marshal pursuant to Section 13143. 

(f) (1) A city, county, or city and county that adopts an ordinance relating to fire and panic safety pursuant to this section shall delegate the enforcement of the ordinance to either of the following: 

(A) The chief of the fire authority of the city, county, or city and county, or his or her authorized representative. 

(B) The chief building official of the city, county, or city and county, or his or her authorized representative. 

(2) Any fee charged pursuant to the enforcement authority of this subdivision shall not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged, pursuant to Section 66014 of the Government Code. 

(g) On or before October 1, 1991, and each October 1 thereafter, the Department of Housing and Community Development, in conjunction with the office of the State Fire Marshal, shall transmit a report to the State Building Standards Commission on the more stringent requirements, adopted by a city, county, or city and county, pursuant to this section or adopted by a fire protection district and ratified pursuant to Section 13869.7, to the building standards relating to fire and panic safety adopted by the State Fire Marshal and contained in the California Building Standards Code. The report shall be for informational purposes only and shall include a summary by the department and the office of the reasons cited as the necessity for the more stringent requirements. The report required pursuant to this subdivision shall apply to any more stringent requirements adopted or ratified on or after January 1, 1991. 

(h) All structures governed by Part 2.7 (commencing with Section 18950) of Division 13 are exempt from the permissive authority granted by subdivision (a).