Maintenance Standards

Poorly maintained vacant buildings have a negative impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the City's businesses, residents, and visitors by:

  • Lowering property values.
  • Posing a health and safety risk to neighboring properties.
  • Creating a negative impression that impacts the City's valuable tourist and convention industries.

Empty buildings also impose significant costs on all taxpayers by requiring additional code and police enforcement.

Common Problems with Vacant Buildings

Vacant Buildings can become health and safety hazards, diminishing the quality of life in the surrounding community. Common problems can include:

  • high incidence of code violations.
  • attract vagrants and criminal activity.
  • draw and harbor vermin.
  • vulnerable to fires.
  • negatively affect property values.
  • represent disinvestment in the area.

Required Standard of Care for Vacant Buildings

The standard of care for vacant buildings includes minimum standards for:

  • Exterior surfaces
  • Premises identification including vacant building identification placard (if applicable)
  • Building
  • Exterior walls
  • Roof and drainage
  • Decorative features
  • Overhang extensions and awnings
  • Stairways, decks, porches, and balconies
  • Chimneys and towers
  • Handrails and guards
  • Windows, skylights, and doors
  • Basement hatchways and windows  

For details, review the city ordinance: Standard of care for vacant property.

Vacant Building Identification Placard

An example of a placard is available for viewing:

Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center
1901 South Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78204


Proof of insurance is not required for vacant single family buildings. Liability insurance is required for all other vacant buildings.

A surety bond for the value of the building may be provided if insurance cannot be obtained.


The following are violations of the Vacant Building Program:

Each violation is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 per day. Additional administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement remedies may also be sought.