Receive a FREE copy of our Soft Story Retrofitting Guide.


Cities with Mandatory Soft Story Ordinances Zebra Services

Los Angeles

Beverly Hills

Santa Monica

West Hollywood



Los Angeles Soft Story Retrofit Ordinances

Ordinance Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081 

From the receipt of the Order to Comply:

  • 2 years: Submit proof of previous retrofit, or plans to retrofit or demolish

  • 3.5 years: Obtain permit to start construction or demolition

  • 7 years: Complete construction

Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 7.57.56 AM.png

You can check the city database of when your order to comply was sent.

Click the button below and type the number in the first box and street in second of your building address.  Then click the drop down on the bottom that says Soft Story.  You can call Zebra and we can check for you too!

Soft-Story Retrofit Unit
201 N. Figueroa St, 8th floor, Suite 890
(213) 482-7638

(213) 202-9924

LA City Housing Resources

Tenant Habitability Plan


The Tenant Habitability plan which is commonly referred to as THP is created to let tenants know what will happen during construction. We are required to give tenants all required documents. One document required is an appeal form. The tenant has a right to appeal the plan. In this case a hearing date will be set, and construction will be delayed until a decision by the city is reached. Since this work is mandatory, the city usually rules in favor of the owner if all of the work is going to be outside of the building. 

We can attend any hearings for or with the property owner.

Cost Recovery


Cost Recovery is a Rent Pass through, where property owners can charge up to 50% of the retrofit costs to the tenants.  They can charge up to $38 per month/unit to tenants over a 10 year period.

Documents needed for cost recovery application:

  • Contracts with Engineer and Contractor

  • Invoices from Project (Contractor, Engineer, Deputy Inspectors)

  • Receipts from Project (Plan Check, Permit)

  • Accepted Tenant Habitability Plan

  • Declaration of Service

  • Rent Roll which was given with THP + Move in Dates

  • Cancelled Checks (Proof of Payment)

  • Ok for C of C or Certificate of Compliance

Tenant Habitability Plan Unit
(213) 252-1464

Cost Recovery Applications

& RSO Information
(866) 557- 7368

School Application

Beverly Hills Soft Story Retrofit Ordinance

Ordinance 18-O-2767 

Screening Form

6 Months from Date of Notice to Comply Date

Submit Screening Form to Community Development Department

Engineering Plans

1 Year from Date of Notice to Comply Date

Submit retrofit plans and documents to Community Development Department

Building Permit

2 Years from Date of Notice to Comply Date

Building Permit (Building permit will expire if work does not commence within 12 months from building permit issuance date)

Complete Construction

3 Years from Date of Notice to Comply Date

Complete Construction & Get Final Inspection Approval

Means and Methods Plan for Tenant Protection During Construction

A Means and Methods Plan must be submitted to the Rent Stabilization Division.  It must be approved within ten (10) days following the issuance of the permit and that no work will commence under the permit until ten (10) days after all tenants are notified. The Means and Methods Plan notice must be either hand delivered to each tenant of the property or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

City's Seismic Retrofit Program


Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 8.57.45 AM.png

Rent Stabilization Division

455 N. Rexford Dr., Room 200

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(310) 285-1031


Santa Monica Soft Story Retrofit Ordinance

Santa Monica Municipal Code Chapters 8.58, 8.60, 8.64, 8.72, 8.76, and 8.80 Collectively known as Seismic Retrofit Ordinance

From the receipt of the Notification Letter:

  • Evaluation Report 4 Months - 3 Years (See Below)

  • Submittal of Plans: 6 Months-3 Years (See Below)

  • Building Permit: Expires if work doesn't begin within 6 months

  • Complete construction: 2 Years - 20 Years

Building & Safety Division

1685 Main St #111

Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 458-8355

Means and Methods Plan 

A Means and Methods Plan must be submitted with Retrofit plans for approval. Noticing should happen at least 2 weeks before construcition begins.


West Hollywood Soft Story Retrofit Ordinances

Ordinance 17-1004  and Ordinance 17-1011

From the receipt of the Notification Letter:

  • 1 Year - Screening Report

  • 2 Years - Submit Retrofit Plans

  • 4 Years- Permit & Construction (Building Permit Expires if work doesn't begin within 6 months)

  • 5 Years- Final Construction City Approval

Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 9.47.09 AM.png

Building & Safety Division

8300 Santa Monica Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069

(323) 848-6848

Tenant Habitability Plan

A Tenant Habitability Plan Must be Submitted and then served to tenants with a construction notice before any construction begins.


Pasadena Soft Story Retrofit Ordinances

Ordinance 7345

From the receipt of the Notification Letter:

  • 1 Year - Screening Report

  • 3 Years - Submit Retrofit Plans & Obtain Building Permit

  • 5 Years- Final Construction City Approval

seaoc logo.png

Most of the guidelines set for Seismic Building Codes are set in Southern California.  Many Seaoc committee members have helped write the ordinances in each municipality. 

Kevin and Michelle of Zebra Construction are both active in the Seaoc community and attend events regularly to keep up to date on new engineering and construction methods and technology.


Mohammad Tajvidi, PE, Michelle Durey & Kevin Fanta



A lot of companies claim to have "In House Engineering", but they are probably subcontracting to a large firm.  Make sure you know who is actually "stamping" your plans.  Some companies with in house engineering over-design so that the construction costs more. We will never over-design a project, and will give our opinion if something is over-designed and help you re-engineer it for a discounted cost.
You can check an engineering license online at Department of Consumer Affairs

Some of the Engineers who's plans Kevin and Michelle have experience building, that they would recommend.

Mohammad "Moe" Tajvidi PE 84559
Moe is a licensed civil engineer. Moe earned his Masters in Structural Engineering at the University of Tehran, and then his PhD in Engineering Education at the University of Utah.  Mohammad is a teacher and has a creative approach to each project.
Moe has experience in all municipalities Zebra Construction services and is Zebra's first engineer we recommend.
John Labib & Associates (David Funk SE 69391)
John Labib + Associates (JLA) is a Consulting Engineering Firm that offers Structural, Shoring, and Civil Engineering Design Services. Since opening its’ doors in 2003, JLA has continuously honed its’ versatility, priding itself on being service-oriented and construction cost-conscious. Over 70 engineers on their staff. This company does a lot of retrofitting plans for design build companies.
Pacific Engineering & Risk Consulting Group
Wenzhou "Jack" Ding has experience in reducing the scope of work for soft story retrofit engineering plans which reduces construction cost for owners.  He has a straightforward approach and will go the extra mile to be sure you are getting the most economical design.

Deputy Inspectors

By Law these must be hired and paid by the owner. A deputy inspector is a 3rd party inspector, who does not work for the city or the contractor to be sure all plans and specifications are being followed. They will give a report to the contractor which must be provided to the city inspector at each inspection.

You can also use a company which dispatches deputy inspectors. 

Mesa Inspections

229 W Bonita Ave #2E

San Dimas, CA 91773

(909) 592-4153

Abrahams Inspections

(310) 930-4252

John Lorenzo Deputy Inspections

(805) 857-7908

The final type of deputy you will need is a UT inspector. Fransen can service all areas.

Fransen Inspection Technology

(714) 642-5842


Vendors We Recommend


Pine Electric

(818) 755-4540

All Around Painting

(562) 547-4296


Eco Plumbing 

(323) 217-4422

LA Low Flush Plumbing

(213) 736-5445