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Frequently Asked Questions

Select a topic to see frequently asked questions and their answers.

  • When do I need a building permit?
    A building permit is required whenever any addition or structural modification is to be made to an existing commercial or living space. A building permit is also required if building a structure, such as a tool shed that is larger than 120 square feet.
  • Do I need a permit to...

    Build a patio cover

    A permit is required for all attached and freestanding patio covers. No permit is required for a patio slab.

    Build a retaining or block wall

    Yes — if the wall is over 3 feet tall.
    You need a permit if the planned wall is higher than three feet from top of footing.

    Get details about retaining walls and block walls.

    Build a tool shed

    No — if the shed’s total floor area is less than 120 sq ft.
    Sheds taller than the fence line must maintain a minimum 5’ setback from both side and rear property lines. See M.V.M.C. 9.08.030.

    Display exterior signs or banners

    A sign and/or banner permit is required. View applications for sizing and other guidelines.

    Hold a garage/yard sale

    Permits are not required for garage or yard sales. Please note, residents are limited to just three garage/yard sales per year. Sales cannot be held on public property, which includes sidewalks, streets, alleys, and parkways.

    Check the code enforcement yard sale page to make sure your sale is in compliance. You can also check the City’s Municipal Code.

    Host an event or a parking lot sale

    Depending on the nature of the event either a  Major or Minor Temporary Use Permit is be required.

    Operate a business from my home

    For a home based business a Home Occupation Permit is required. If opening a new business in a commercial location make sure your desired location is compatible with zoning.

    Rent out my home(s)

    Residential property owners need a business license for each rental property.

    For more information:

    Replace a wood fence

    No — if the fence is:

    • replaced with wood, vinyl or wrought iron,
    • in the same location
    • not over 6 feet in height.

    Check the City Code for details


    A permit is required if you are repairing or replacing roofing components over 100 square feet of the roof of your home or garage.

  • Which application do I need to start the permitting process? How long will it take to review?

    If applying for a building permit, you will to fill out the Application for Building Permit.

    If you are an owner-builder, you will also need to fill out the Building Permit – Owner Builder Verification form. Also make sure to include the Fire screening form with your submittal.

    Once all required documents are submitted, the normal review time is within 12 business days.

  • Is landlord approval required prior to permit submittal?

    Building and Safety does not require landlord approval for architectural submittals (e.g., drawings and plans).

  • What type of inspections are required?

    Your building inspector will let you know which inspections are required.

  • How much will my permit and plan check cost?

    Permit fees vary depending on the type and work done. For building permits, call 951.413.3350, for planning permits call (951) 413-3206 for an estimate.

    You can check the City's Fee Schedule, or you can contact us at 951.413.3350 for an estimate.

  • What happens if something is built without a permit?

    You can apply for legalization through the permitting process. If that isn't an option, you will be required to remove the unpermitted structure by obtaining a demo permit.

  • Does my contractor need to be licensed to obtain a building permit? How do I verify that my contractor is licensed?

    Contractors are required to be licensed in California. The Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board website lets you look up license status and information by the contractor’s name or license number.

  • I'm planning to open a business. What permits do I need?

    The type of permit depends on the business use.

    If you are operating a home-based business you may need to apply for a Home Occupation Permit. A Certificate of Occupancy is required if opening a business in a commercial location.

    Before starting any business, verify your use is allowed within the zone your business plans to occupy.