Rebuilding and Renter's Information

Department of Planning & Development Services (PDS), County of San Diego

For more information concerning rebuilding, permits and fees, contact the Department of Planning and Development Services, Building Division.
Building Division Phone: (858) 565-5920.
Web site:

Rebuilding Costs

When it's time to rebuild, first look to insurance and charities for help with rebuilding costs. When you have covered the costs, it is important to make sure that your new structure is built well, in a efficient manner and for a reasonable price. Here are some recommendations on how to find the right contractor and helpful resources,

  • Use only licensed contractors. Verify your contractor has a valid license on the Contractors State License Board Web site, or by phone at 1-800-321-2752.
  • Check with your local Better Business Bureau to learn about the companies' reputation. 24-hour Automated Voice Response Phone: (858) 496-2131.
  • Get at least two estimates for each job and compare to find the best price.
  • According to California Law, if a down payment will be charged for home repair, the down payment may not exceed $1,000 or 10 percent of the total cost, whichever is less.
  • Never pay with cash! Pay with check or money order in three installments; the first when work is beginning, the second when work is almost complete and the last third when the work has been completed.
  • Before work begins make sure to get all promises in writing and sign a contract outlining the work, payment schedules, time frame, materials, and any other important topics.
  • Before work begins also be aware of the effects of construction and equipment operation on the air around you.


If you are a renter and your home is materially damaged, you must notify your landlord of the needed repairs and give them a reasonable time frame to complete them in. Your landlord is responsible for the repairs at their expense. If the repairs are not made within that set time frame, you may need to terminate your lease. If you have a written lease and wish to terminate it, make sure to have your lease checked with a professional before taking any further actions.

If you are a renter, and your home has serious damage, know that your landlord has the right to terminate your written lease, unless otherwise specified. You, as the renter may also terminate your lease in the case of serious damage. Under California law, your lease is terminated when the rental unit is destroyed, unless the lease states otherwise. To terminate your lease:

  • Check your lease for special agreements regarding damage
  • Make a list of the damage to the unit
  • Photograph or videotape the unit
  • Have reliable witnesses view the damage
  • Obtain any FEMA inspection reports
  • Request a building inspection by your city and obtain the report
  • Give you landlord written notice including copies of the above documentation and stating that the unit is no longer habitable.
  • Unless your landlord previously made repairs to your unit because of misuse of the property, you are entitled to the return of your deposit in full. In that case, you may also want to give your landlord written notice requesting the return of your deposit.

Rental Property Listing for Landlords and Tenants
Joint Fire Science Program
California Fire Alliance
Rebuild Your Life
211 San Diego - Community, Health and Disaster Information
SDG&E Residential New Construction Incentives - For Homes Affected by the 2014 Wildfires