San Francisco requires sellers of property to provide buyers with a “Report of Residential Record” commonly known as the 3R report. It’s an overview of the building permit history and authorized use. Although the building department doesn’t stand behind any of the information provided in the report, seller’s are required to fork over $160 for the report. Below is a copy of an email I sent to Vivian Day, Director of the Building Inspection Department.
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2012 08:57:46 -0800
Subject: 3R order processing, turn-around time, and customer service
From: Matt Fuller
To: Vivian Day
Hello. I’m a Realtor here in San Francisco, and last week dropped off an application and payment for a 3R report required for the sale of a client’s single family home.
When I dropped off the application and payment, I was told that – as of last Thursday – your department is currently processing 3R requests received on the 20th of January. This seems to be a service level that is far lower than the 5 -7 business days quoted on your department’s website at: http://sfdbi.org/index.aspx?page=238#3R
When the fee increased from $50 to $160, your department went to great lengths to assure customers that the increase in fees was to cover necessary costs and that there would be an increase in both the accuracy of the reports and a decrease in the amount of time to receive the report. It has been almost four years since the fee increase, and your department still provides no warranty or assurance of the accuracy of any information contained in the report (I’ve attached a copy of the one page disclaimer provided to buyers that explains how unreliable the document is), and your processing times are currently 2 – 3 times longer than what is quoted on your website.
In addition, applications for a 3R permit cannot be processed online, nor can reports be received via email. I also have a hard time understanding why my clients must pay for a report when it contains information that is almost identical to that which can be found in the free online building department permit lookup site found at http://dbiweb.sfgov.org/dbipts/.
For all of these reasons, I’d appreciate it if you could take some time to review your department’s commitment to providing accurate and timely information in 3R reports.
Matt Fuller, GRI
Zephyr Real Estate/4200 17th St/San Francisco, CA 94114
Your Guide to San Francisco Real Estate
Here’s a sample of the 3R warning provided to buyers in San Francisco (PDF).