Descriptive Title: Health and building code violations for housing and habitability

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Point and Census tract

Health and building code violations for housing and habitability per 1,000 people (2009-2011)
NeighborhoodTotal Housing Violations (2009-2011)Annual Housing ViolationsAnnual Violations per 1,000 Population
Bayview/Hunter's Point 257 86 2.5
Bernal Heights 391 130 5.1
Castro/Upper Market 383 128 6.5
Chinatown 256 85 9.1
Excelsior 242 81 2.1
Financial District/South Beach 123 41 5.9
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park NA NA NA
Haight Ashbury 279 93 4.4
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 183 61 1.7
Inner Sunset 232 77 3.0
Lakeshore 146 49 2.5
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 124 41 2.0
McLaren Park
Mission 1,697 566 10.3
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 879 293 13.2
Noe Valley 247 82 4.2
North Beach 274 91 7.2
Outer Mission 269 90 3.3
Outer Richmond 183 61 1.7
Pacific Heights 71 24 1.2
Potrero Hill 117 39 3.1
Presidio 0 0 0.0
Presidio Heights 31 10 1.3
Russian Hill 513 171 9.8
San Francisco 13,073 4,358 5.4
Seacliff 10 3 1.3
South of Market 1,084 361 11.5
Treasure Island 0 0 0.0
Twin Peaks 61 20 3.0
Visitacion Valley 168 56 2.3
West of Twin Peaks 126 42 2.0
Western Addition 738 246 4.8

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

Housing infrastructure and proper maintenance are important to protect the health and safety of residents in their homes. Unsafe housing and habitability conditions that affect health often exist in older and poorly maintained housing. Houses have inadequate heating or ventilation, which can lead to the growth of mold, and dust mites, leading to asthma and respiratory allergies.a Older housing stock Many houses also may have lead-based paint that can cause lead poisoning, particularly in young children. Other conditions include, exposed heating sources and unprotected windows. The health impacts of these physical hazards in a home can be related to housing affordability. City of San Francisco environmental health inspectors have found that many tenants are reluctant to complain to landlords about physically unsafe conditions because they fear they will be evicted, and will be unable to find other affordable housing in San Francisco.

For additional information on the connections between housing and health, visit: The Case for Housing Impacts Assessment by SFDPH, Program on Health Equity and Sustainability.b

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

The top map of code violations for housing safety and habitability provides information on the exact location of violations and the type of violations. The second map depicts code violations for housing safety and habitability per 1,000 population at the census tract level. The table displays the total residential health and housing habitability violations reported to the City in 2009-2011, the average number of annual violations in that three year period, and the proportion of violations per 1,000 population, aggregated for each Planning District Neighborhood.

The above maps and table indicate that there is a large number of housing safety and habitability violations concentrated in the Downtown/Civic Center area of San Francisco. The Downtown/Civic Center neighborhood has the highest number of annual violations per 1,000 population (24.5) and Nob Hill has the second highest number of housing safety and habitability violations (13.2). There are several areas of the city with little to no history of violations, including the Presidio and , Treasure Island, and Mission Bay, presumable because these areas were former naval bases that were recently converted to residential housing. Mission Bay is another neighborhood with little to no history of violations;, this neighborhood is proximatelyprimarily office park space, a university and new residential construction. . The average annual number of housing and habitability violations per 1,000 population in San Francisco is 5.4.

Health code violations include an array of issues such as accumulation of filth, unsanitary building conditions, and unsanitary food storage. Health code violations are reported to the Environmental Health Section of the Department of Public Health. Housing code violations are reported to the Department of Building Inspection and include an array of housing safety issues including fire, security and plumbing or electrical code violations. Both Departments have inspectors who respond to housing health and safety complaints and work with property owners, tenants, and other government agencies to correct any identified violations to the San Francisco Health and Housing code. Both San Francisco and California Civil Codes have requirements for housing health and safety.

Property owners are required to provide: Buildings free of lead hazard and mold; safe sources of heating systems; effective weatherproofing of windows, exterior walls, and roofs; housing free of garbage, waste rats, vermin, and bedbugs; plumbing and gas facilities in good order; hot and cold running water; adequate electrical plugs and phone jacks; and, well-maintained stairs floors, and common areas. For more information on code enforcement visit: :


Housing code and residential health code violations were geocoded and mapped used ESRI ArcMap Version 10.0. Violation data from DBI and DPH were merged into one file and a spatial join analysis was performed to assess how many violations occurred in each San Francisco census tract and planning neighborhood. The total number of violations per census tract/neighborhood was then divided by three to attain the average annual number of violations in the three year period (2009-2011). Finally, the average annual number of violations was divided by the total population at each geographic spatial level (census tract/neighborhood) and multiplied by 1,000 to normalize by population density.


The DPH and DBI violation data depicted above are largely generated from tenant complaints and therefore may not entirely reflect poor residential health and housing conditions in San Francisco.

Data Source

Data on: 1) 2009-2011 Residential health code violations from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section, 2) 2009-2011 Housing code violations from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, 3) 2010 population data from the 2010 United States Census.

Maps and tables prepared by City and County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section using ArcGIS software.

Map data is presented at the level of the census tract. The map also includes planning neighborhood names, in the vicinity of their corresponding census tracts.

Table data is presented at the Planning District Neighborhood level.

Detailed information regarding census data, geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found at the following links:

Interactive boundaries map

  1. Institute of Medicine. Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures. National Academy Press. Washington D.C. 2000.
  2. SFDPH. The Case for Housing Impacts Assessment: The Humean Health and Social Impacts of Inadequate Housing and their Consideration in CEQA Policy and Practice. May 2004. Accesible at: