Commercial Unoccupied Use
The District’s monthly service charge rates for commercial structures vary depending on the classification and type of use—for example from 1/3 EDU for a retail store to 2/3 EDU for a dental office to 2 EDU for a restaurant. SPMUD’s ordinance states that in cases of vacancy where commercial property is not physically disconnected from the sewer, the service charge shall be based on the classification of the last occupant(s) of the structure. The lowest chargeable rate classification for any commercial structure is at the 1/3 rate regardless of vacancy. Thus, if a retail store was the last occupant of the structure prior to the vacancy, the service charge remains at the 1/3 rate regardless of its vacant status. If a restaurant or dental office was the last occupant of the structure prior to the vacancy, the service charge remains at the 2 EDU rate or 2/3 EDU rate regardless of its vacant status.
In situations where an occupied use of a structure is charged at the higher 2/3 EDU or 2 EDU rate and becomes unoccupied (vacant), District policy will allow a property owner whose commercial building(s) or premises has been unoccupied for at least three consecutive months or longer to file an Application for a Change in Use for a Reduced Monthly Service Charge. Upon the effective date of the Application, the monthly service charge will be reduced to the 1/3 EDU rate. So long as the building or premise then remains unoccupied, the reduced service charge will stay at the 1/3 EDU rate, provided however, that the property owner must re-apply for the reduced service charge on a quarterly basis. The reduced service charge will terminate and the rate reverts to the last occupied use if the property owner does not re-apply for the Change in Use on the required quarterly basis—even if the building or premises still remains unoccupied. A new three-month period must then pass before an application can once again be filed for a Change in Use for a Reduced Monthly Service Charge on the same building/premises.