Building Abatement F.A.Q. - Building Code Violations

How do I report a Building Code violation?
To report a Building Code violation, click on complaint form or call (714) 741-5172, Examples of Building Code violations with code sections: Substandard Housing

How do I report a Code Enforcement violation?
To report a (Land use) Code Enforcement violation, call 714-741-5358 or visit Code Enforcement.

What do I do if I receive a "Notice of Violation" or a "Stop Work Notice"?
How to Clear a Notice of Violation
*Make an appointment with your case Inspector to meet you at the Permit Center to review your permitting process and requirements.

1) Go to the City Hall Permit Center (11222 Acacia Pkwy. Garden Grove, first floor)
If you received a Notice of Violation or Stop Work Notice, go to the Permit Center and initially meet with the Planning Department. If you have any questions, contact the Building Inspector assigned to your case.

2) Apply for a permit.
Simple permits can be issued "over-the-counter". More complex applications are reviewed by plan check technicians and/or engineers and other agencies. Call the permit center for more on the plan check process.

3) Schedule Inspections
You are not done when the permit is issued. You must still schedule and pass all the inspections that are required for your permit. Once these are complete, you will receive a final inspection, at which time you will have finished the permit process.

Note about as-built construction
If you received a Notice of Violation for work that was already complete, you still must apply for a permit for that work. You may be required to expose the inside of walls to verify structural requirements, or take other actions to verify that the construction complies with Building Code Requirements.

Who turned me in?
We receive complaints from a number of sources including internal referrals, outside agencies and the general public. Of those complaints received from the general public, we may offer to keep a complainant's name confidential for various reasons. A court order is required to find out the complainant's name if we agree to confidentiality.

Can I legalize an addition or detached structure that was built without permits?
Yes. In some cases you may be able to submit “As-Built Construction” plans to obtain a permit for the illegally built structure. Step one is to speak with the Planning Division 714-841-5312 or view the Planning Application Flowchart. You may be required to submit structural calculations if “As-Built” structure does not meet all the provisions of conventional construction per the California Building Code.

The violation existed before I bought the property. Why am I responsible for clearing the violation?
Violations run with the property, not with the person who created the violation. If you purchased a property that has violations, you are responsible for abating the violations.

Why do I have to pay an investigation fee if I'm getting a permit to correct the violation?
The Building Inspector may impose an investigation fee to cover associated costs. Additionally, fees are assessed if permitting of structures is allowed. Contact our Permit Center at (714) 741-5307 for more information on permitting. If the violation cannot be approved or legalized by a permit, you may be required to obtain a demolition permit and immediately remove the violation, cease the unlawful use and/or demolish and restore the structure to its original permitted condition. In less severe circumstances you may be given (30) days to cease the unlawful use or demolish the unlawful structure. If you fail to comply with our direction, you may be subject to an administrative citation or further legal action.

Where you fall within this penalty range is based upon the following:

The seriousness of the violation. Could the violation harm human health/safety or the environment?
The length of time the violation has existed
The diligence and cooperation of the property owner
The effect of the violation on other properties.
The owner's level of responsibility for the violation. Did the owner create or add to the violation?

What will happen if I don't get a permit and resolve the violation?
Building Abatement Inspectors strive to assist the property owner to obtain compliance. If permits are not obtained, a "Notice of Substandard Building" will be recorded against the title of the property. This recorded document serves to notify the public of the violation and may prevent you from selling the property or obtaining refinancing or title insurance on the property. In addition, your case may then be referred to The City Attorneys Office to be pursued in Superior Court. This could result in a judgment against you, and increased costs and penalties.

How much will my permit cost?
Permit fees are based upon the complexity of the project. Staff will assist you in determining your cost. Contact our Permit Center at (714) 741-5307 for more information on permitting.

The person who turned me in has a violation on their property. Why aren't you investigating them?
If you suspect there is a code violation on another property, you may file a complaint and provide this information. A Building Inspector will investigate the matter. If a violation is found to exist, the owner will be contacted by letter and required to remove the violation and/or obtain the necessary permits for the violation.

How long do I have to fix the violation?
Under most circumstances you will be given 30 days. This may involve simply stopping the illegal use demolition or obtaining the necessary permits. Under some circumstances an extension of time may be granted when the property owner is steadily working to resolve the problem and is making progress.

I disagree that my property has a violation. Can I appeal the staff's determination of the violation?
You can appeal any determination of violation. The appeal period is 20-days from receipt of the Notice of Violation. Appeals of some determinations require a fee.