Certificate of Occupancy in San Diego, California

The certificate of occupancy is a legal document and required before occupying a building. According to Section 129.0114 of the San Diego Municipal Code (SDMC), a certificate of occupancy is required in following cases:

  • Occupation of a building structure or portion of a structure
  • Change in existing use or occupancy classification of a structure or portion of a structure

The Certificate of Occupancy is issued when all work authorized under building permits has been completed and all inspections have been carried out.  If you need to schedule your inspection, please visit San Diego Citizen Portal . The San Diego Citizen Portal can schedule inspection for following type of work:

  1. Residential Rooftop-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Permit submitted after Jan. 15, 2018
  2. Simple Permit – MEP (No-plan Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) submitted after April 30, 2018

Types of Certificate of Occupancy

The City of San Diego issues Certificates of Occupancy for the following:

  • New non-residential buildings
  • New multiple dwelling unit buildings
  • Tenant improvements (TIs) to occupy a shell building or involving a change of occupancy classification
  • Additions and alterations to an existing non-residential or MDU, which results in a change of occupancy classification or occupant load.

The City of San Diego does not issue Certificates of Occupancy for the following:

  • Single dwelling unit, duplex, or townhome
  • Private garages and sheds
  • Shell buildings
  • TIs or remodels of existing structures when there is no change in occupancy classification or occupant load
  • Agricultural buildings
  • Change of ownership or tenancy
  • Other reasons such as for leasing satellite installation rights or financial institution conditions.

Processing Time

A Certificate of Occupancy will be issued within two business days from the date of final inspection approval. The permit holder may elect to have a copy of their Certificate of Occupancy delivered via postal mail or by email.

Temporary Certificate of Occupancy

The City of San Diego issues Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) for a limited period of time when the Building Official finds that a structure or a portion of a structure can be occupied safely, and no substantial hazard will result from occupancy of any structure or portion of a structure before all work is completed (SDMC 129.0115).

Download Temporary Certificate of Occupancy Form

A TCO may be issued once the following items are installed and approved:

  • A. Life safety elements;
  • B. Means of egress system;
  • C. Fire protection and fire alarm systems;
  • D. Fire access and fire hydrants;
  • E. Accessibility requirements;
  • F. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems;
  • G. Public improvements;
  • H. Special inspection reports;
  • I. Payment of all fees;
  • J. Additional regulations, as applicable to the specific building.

To request a TCO, a completed form (DS-6004), and all applicable fees per Section V of this bulletin shall be submitted to the Inspection Services Office at 9601 Ridgehaven Court, Suite 220, San Diego, CA, 92123. In addition, projects that request to occupy a portion of a building shall submit a phased occupancy plan for city review at the time of permitting to demonstrate that each portion of the building will fully comply with all applicable
regulations. An inspection will be performed to confirm that the portion to be occupied meets all applicable regulations. A final inspection approval is required upon completion of the remainder of the work prior to issuance of a C of O.

Getting Certificate of Occupancy for Existing Buildings

To request a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy for an existing building, complete and submit a Building Records Request Form online, from the Development Services website. Customers may visit the DSD Records Division located at 1222 First Avenue on the 2nd floor. Appointments can also be made by contacting (619) 446-5200.
If a copy of the original Certificate of Occupancy is not available in the Records Division, a
completed form (DS-6003) and applicable fees per Section V of this bulletin shall be
submitted to Inspection Services at 9601 Ridgehaven Court, Suite 220, San Diego, CA
92123. The written request shall include all supporting documentation, copy of
Inspection Record Card, permits, or any other related information for City review.
The Inspection Services Office will process the request within three weeks from the date
the request is received. If documentation is not found to demonstrate that a final
inspection approval was issued, a new building permit may be required.

Suspension of Certificate

An already issued certificate of occupancy in San Diego can be also be suspended or revoked later on. Reasons for suspension or revocation of the certificate are as under:-

  • The certificate was issued in error,
  • The certificate was issued on the basis of incorrect information
  • Building Official determines that the structure
  • portion of structure is in violation of any ordinance, regulation, or provision of the San


Fees for getting certificate of occupancy are as follow:

  • Temporary Certificate of Occupancy – $410.08
  • Re-issuing Certificate of Occupancy – $410.08
  • Additional Hourly Fees (May be assessed if additional research and review time is required.) – $205.04/hr