If you’re lucky enough to own a home that has a garage you probably assume that you’re free to store whatever you want inside. You probably don’t think it matters if you park a car, use it to store boxes of books, or keep a collection of landscaping tools in your garage.
In most parts of California, no one really cares what you have in your garage. However, if you live in San Francisco or Long Beach, local lawmakers are very concerned about what you do and don’t have in your garage.
The issue is addressed in San Francisco’s Housing Code. You’ll find it in the sixth chapter. The code specifically states that, “Private and public storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall be used only for storage of automobiles.”
What happens if you break the law and store something in your garage besides an automobile? If city officials find out, they’d be within their rights to charge you a $500 fine.
Not only does this law prohibit you from storing things like rakes, boxes of clothing, garden hoses, canned goods, extra appliances, and spare pet supplies in your garage, it also means that even the items you use to care for your car, such as extra quarts of oil, a spare gallon of windshield washer, and air compressors shouldn’t be in your garage.
There is no information available about how many people were busted for storing items other than their vehicle in their garage.
In 2014, the city supervisor did attempt to get this rule, and a few others that were considered silly or outdated, removed from the book of housing codes.