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Building & Safety

Safe Structures Program (Formerly LIAP)

A Program to certify qualifying unpermitted construction
as safe, habitable, and a low priority for code enforcement.

The purpose the LIAP program is to promote special inspections and safety modifications of existing unpermitted structures to ensure they are safe, healthy and habitable, and once certified as safe, to allow these structures to continue to provide needed housing and other resources to the Santa Cruz County community.

Eligibility for the Program:

  1. The LIAP was created to facilitate the safety upgrade and continuing beneficial use of structures that the County has determined cannot be fully legalized through the standard building permit process. Any structure that can feasibly be modified to meet current building and zoning code standards is not eligible for the LIAP.
  2. Unpermitted construction (new construction, remodel, or addition) must have been completed before January 2014.
  3. Active code compliance cases may be determined to be eligible to participate on a case by case basis.
  4. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are eligible to participate in LIAP. (However, recent changes in State and local laws have made it much easier to legalize an unpermitted ADU. Find information regarding ADUs.

Benefits of Certification under LIAP:

  • Limited Immunity: LIAP Certification means that a non-compliant or unpermitted structure or improvement will be considered a low priority for County code enforcement. With a LIAP Certificate, if the County receives a complaint about a non-compliant condition on the property, the County will indicate that the property is safe and habitable and considered a low priority for code enforcement efforts.
  • Decreased Risk: Reduction of risk associated with renting unpermitted structures. Under County Code Chapter 8.45, landlords who rent unsafe, hazardous or illegal dwellings can be required to pay for 3 months of tenant relocation assistance. With a LIAP certificate, this requirement would not apply.
  • Decreased Cost: When building permits are obtained for modifications that are required as part of the LIAP, certain impact fees are waived or reduced, and Code enforcement penalty fees are waived for the unpermitted construction that is covered by the LIAP certificate.
  • LIAP staff will provide technical assisstance to the owner, even when the goal is full legalization rather than limited immunity.

For more information and how to apply for LIAP certification, please visit the Building Counter during regular business hours or email