Ugh! Nothing makes me cringe worse than walking into an "unwarranted space" during house hunting. Especially if you're walking into a basement bathroom where your head touches the ceiling. We are real estates agents nightmare clients. We walk around with a tape measure sounding off alarms every time the tape measure doesn't extend part 7'-6". Among other annoying things we do. Yet we need a home and sometimes you simply have to bite the bullet.
One of the things potential homeowners are always intimidated with and dread is what it will take to make an unwarranted space legal (In San Francisco). Unfortunately for many San Francisco spaces that would mean LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY! But not always. For those that have the Grit to go through this process, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
Lucky for you, I know people, that know people, hehehe. Perks of being a Residential Designer in the Bay Area. So here is what you can do.
1. Contact me and I will direct you to an affordable licensed Architect.
2. Use this form as a guideline when house hunting. It tells you all the codes to be on the lookout for. You'll have a better grasp of violations that will eventually become your problem.
3. Check out the San Francisco Building Department Flow chart on how to get started.
4. Don't Fret, because.....
"Established in May 2014, unauthorized dwelling units or, “in-law” units may apply to be legalized. This is a voluntary program that allows property owners to formally register and rent their in-law units in San Francisco assuming all life-safety conditions are met. An in-law unit is an additional dwelling inside a property that was intended to be a single unit. Homeowners often convert and rent unused space in their homes. Although it is common, this has been illegal. With this ordinance, one of these existing units may legally join the housing market should the owner follow the stipulated process.
Visit DBI’s Unit Legalization Counter, Counter #8 at 1660 Mission Street, 1st Floor or call (415) 558-6117."