In response to community concerns about noise the San Rafael and Novato City Councils have established a Quiet Zone effective immediately. The train horn will not blow at railroad crossings.

Report of Residential Building Record (RBR)

We, like most jurisdictions in Marin County, require a Point of Sale inspection for all residential dwelling units whenever the property is sold.

A Residential Resale Report is a building permit records check and physical inspection of all residential units which are sold in San Rafael. All permits are listed on the report and any permits which are not complete or have expired are identified and typically must be followed up on.  Additionally we will list all planning actions and construction related code enforcement cases.

The primary purpose of the inspection is to verify that any modifications or improvements which may have been made to the structure(s) on the property are in conformance with State and local building codes and zoning ordinances, and were constructed with permits.  

Fees
Single Family Dwelling:   $290.00 (Duplex Dwellings $580.00)
Condominiums: $255.00
Apartments: $270.00 for the first unit; ($30.00 each additional unit)

Apply for a Residential Resale Report

You may apply for your Resale Report & Inspection on line or you may  submit a PDF application for a Report of Residential Building Record (RBR) by emailfax to (415) 485-3184, or by mail.  Please be sure to include your payment information.

If you would like to order your report in person, you may do so Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the 3rd floor Building Counter in City Hall.

What will our Building Inspector be looking for?

The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that any new construction, modifications, or improvements which may have been made to the property are in conformance with State and local building codes and zoning ordinances, and were constructed with permits.    

Permits for the following items may be obtained at the Building Division Public counter in City Hall anytime during regular business hours. If these permits are obtained and the inspection approval granted within 15 days of the issuance of this report, no enforcement action will be taken by the City. Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a Notice.

  • Replacement water heater
  • Replacement furnace
  • Electrical: Main service upgrade
  • Window replacements/exterior door replacements

The following sorts of violations typically require plans & review.  Many of these types of issues can be handled through our Over-the-Counter permit process on Tuesday & Thursday mornings.  More complex matters may need a Submittal Application.  Contact the Building Division at 415-485-3367 for further information.

  • Work done without a permit (for example):
    • 2nd dwelling unit
    • Accessory structure or building w/o permit
    • Decks
    • Garage/Basement/Attic Conversion
    • Hot tub / spa installation
    • Kitchen/ Bath remodel
    • Retaining walls - new or replacement
  • Any EXPIRED permits must be renewed and inspected

Frequently Asked Questions

A Residential Resale Report is a building permit records check and physical inspection of any residential units (SFD, Duplex, Townhouse/Condo, Apartment complexes) which are sold in San Rafael.  All building permits, planning actions, and construction-related code enforcement actions are listed on the report.  Any permits which are not complete or have expired are identified; these typically must be followed up on.  The physical inspection is done to ensure that the permit record is consistent with what is present on the property, in order to identify any illegally constructed elements which may be potentially hazardous or unsanitary.  The resale report is typically requested by the seller, and a copy of the report is required to be provided to the buyer, who signs a statement verifying receipt.

Residential Resale Reports are required when any residential property changes ownership. This includes Single Family Homes, Duplexes, Apartment Buildings and Townhouses/Condominiums.  There are a few exceptions, such as the first sale of a new home and the sale of mobile homes.

  1. Application and payment of a fee (usually by the seller). This may be done at City Hall 8:30-4:30 M-F, or by filling out an online application and emailing it to the Building Division.
  2. Our staff will perform a Building Permit, Planning file, and Code Enforcement records search.
  3. A physical inspection is performed by our staff. Inspections are scheduled with the applicant.
  4. We issue a written report, which is posted on our website
  5. Potential follow-up by the city for any identified unpermitted work.

All the Cities and Towns in Marin County have ordinances requiring resale reports.  However, the unincorporated areas of Marin County do not require resale reports.

A resale report must be requested and completed prior to the close of escrow. It is important that you obtain a resale report as early in the sale process as possible so that a completed report will be available to you in a timely manner.   This will also allow sufficient time to resolve any identified problems or issues to be addressed well before the property is in escrow.

All resale reports are effective for 6 months, and may be extended for an additional 3 months upon written request by an authorized representative. Thereafter, a new inspection and report will be required.

On the average, you will be contacted within 7 working days, and the inspection will usually be performed within 5 working days from that date.

Our goal is to provide the completed report within 3 working days after the inspection.

A responsible adult must be present to accompany the inspector and provide access. This can be the buyer; seller; or agent for either; tenant; or any other person over the age of 18 with a legal right to be there.  The inspection usually takes 20 – 30 Minutes.

The primary purpose of the inspection is to verify that any modifications or improvements which may have been made to the structure(s) on the property are in conformance with State and local building codes and zoning ordinances, and were constructed with permits, inspected, and completed.

For a checklist of the most commonly identified items, please review the Resale Inspection Checklist.

Fee Schedule Effective January 19, 2017:

Single Family Dwelling:          $290.00 (Duplex Dwellings $580.00)

Condominiums:                       $255.00

Apartments:                             $270.00 for the first unit, $30.00 each additional unit

All Reports are posted on our website, and are downloadable as a PDF document. Instructions on navigating to those records can be found online.

The City does not have the authority or the desire to hold up the sale of the property.  However, if the property is conveyed, any required actions, permits, fees, or penalties will become the legal responsibility of the buyer.

If you believe we have omitted information in the report, please contact the Administrative Assistant at 415-485-3086 to discuss. If you dispute the findings of the inspector regarding illegal construction, or have additional information to provide to refute some finding in the report, you may file an appeal, in writing, addressed to the Community Development Director, along with a $100 appeal fee.  This appeal must be filed within 5 working days of the date the report is posted on line.  You will receive a written response within 10 working days.  The determination of the Director is final.

Unfortunately, there are no exemptions or exceptions for short sales.

If you cannot make the scheduled appointment, please contact our Administrative Assistant at 415-485-3086 as soon as possible to reschedule. Missed appointments may be subject to a re-inspection fee.

If you have not yet scheduled the inspection, we can refund 80 % of the fee. If we have already done the research and inspection, you will not be entitled to a refund.  However, the report is still good for 6 months.  When requesting a refund, please call 415-485-3367 and one of the Building Technicians will assist you.

When you return the “Return Receipt and Buyer’s Certification”, also include a “request for RBR refund form” and mail or email back to us. The refund will not be processed until a properly executed buyer’s receipt is received.  The refund check will be mailed to the payee unless you designate someone else to receive payment on the refund form.

If the unpermitted work existed prior to your ownership, and was not disclosed in a prior resale report, you will still be required to resolve the issue through the issuance of retroactive permit(s), but the city will waive all normal permit fees and penalties. If the unpermitted work was identified in a previous resale report, or code enforcement action, the matter will be treated as though it was a current violation and normal permit fees and penalties may be assessed.

A demo permit will still be required to abate the issue, and normal fees and penalties may be assessed. In some cases, plans may be required to document what was done, and any remedial work required to bring the structure back to its previous state.

RBR Update

On August 1, 2016 the City Council held a study session to review options for the City’s residential building resale (RBR) program. The City Council decided to reconvene on the issue in about a month to solicit further input. The date will be posted here once it's scheduled. Check out the PowerPoint and summary of options from the meeting!

Additional Resources:

Residential Building Record Ordinance 1945
Resale Inspection Checklist
RBR Sample Report
RBR Application

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