Second Unit Amnesty Process
How Do I Apply and What Happens After That?
- Self-assessment. Applicants will be required to complete a self-inspection checklist, assessing the characteristics and condition of the second unit. Download the self-inspection checklist.
- Pre-application consultation. After completion of the checklist, applicants must schedule a pre-application consultation with Planning and Building staff to discuss the status and eligibility of the unit.
- Health and safety inspection. If the unit is potentially eligible, the applicant can choose to schedule a low-cost health and safety inspection of the unit. This inspection will generate a detailed record of all repairs and improvements necessary to comply with the program (a scope of work).
- Cost and feasibility. Using that scope of work, the applicant will be able to discuss potential project costs with contractors, and determine if those costs are feasible. (There is a potential for some applicants to receive financial assistance from the County Housing Department in the form of very low interest loans, but that assistance is available only to certain eligible applicants, and is not guaranteed. In general, applicants must be prepared to pay for the cost of construction without County assistance. Check your eligibility for a Housing Department loan.)
NOTE: While the initial health and safety inspection is not a code enforcement inspection, the County cannot ignore any conditions which present an immediate danger to life safety. For example, if the unit is structurally unsound and at immediate risk of collapse, or if there is exposed wiring that presents immediate, evident fire danger, or if the unit’s sewer or septic system is producing raw sewage, or any other similar conditions that pose a definite and immediate risk to inhabitants of the unit or surrounding properties, you will be required to rectify those specific conditions. The County cannot ignore immediate dangers present on your property. Applicants must be aware of this risk before committing to a pre-application inspection.
Formal Application and Unit Rehabilitation Phase
Application to the program. With the scope of work and cost estimates from contractors in hand, the applicant can determine if he/she wishes to formally apply to the amnesty program.
Until formal application, an applicant can withdraw from the program without any penalty or risk of code enforcement, and no information gathered during the pre-application process will be used for any other purpose. On formal application to the program, however, the applicant must commit to completing all required improvements, on a timeline established in consultation with the Planning and Building Department. If the work is not completed, the unpermitted second unit will be subject to code enforcement action. The consultation period provides a risk-free opportunity to explore the feasibility of the program. After formal application to the program, this risk-free period ends, and the applicant must commit to completing the program. It is important to understand this risk clearly before deciding to apply to the program.
Applicants must complete application forms provided by the Planning and Building Department, submit plans for improvement of the unit, and affirm commitment to completing the work in the manner and schedule described in the scope of work. Once all materials have been reviewed and deemed complete, applicants will be issued a notice of permission to proceed with the required improvements.
- Completion of work and final inspections. Once all required work on the unit has been completed, as described in the scope of work, the applicant must schedule inspections that will certify that the work has been satisfactorily accomplished. Once these inspections are complete, an Amnesty Certification will be issued, memorializing the improvements and assuring indefinite for suspension of code enforcement action for any issues addressed through the amnesty program. NOTE: should any additional unpermitted work on the unit take place after issuance of the Amnesty Certification, such work may still be subject to code enforcement for any issues unrelated to the amnesty program.