Respond to a notice of recorded refuse lien

If you have an unpaid garbage bill or if your payment is late, you might get a lien placed on your property.

What to do

A refuse lien is a legal hold on a property due to late payment on a garbage bill.

The refuse lien includes:

  • Unpaid service amount 
  • Recording fee
  • Administrative fee
  • 1.5% monthly interest (if not paid within 30 days of lien recording date)

Pay the lien

We do not accept payments by phone. We do not accept partial payments.



Pay by mail

You can also pay with a check or money order to "SF Health Department":


Department of Public Health

Solid Waste Program
Attn: Refuse Lien Program
49 South Van Ness Ave., Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94103
View location on google maps

Include the bottom of your notice or the block/lot number and invoice number.

Next steps

If you pay the lien

Liens are released once a month.

If you don’t pay the lien

If you do not pay your lien, 1.5% interest will be added monthly. If you have not paid the lien by the due date in the final lien notice, it will transfer to your property tax bill as a special assessment. Once the lien is on your property tax bill, it must be paid with your property tax bill to the Tax Collector.

Special cases

If you need information about a past lien

If you need information about a past lien

You can research refuse liens more than 5 years old at the Assessor-Recorder office at:
City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 190

You can request for refuse liens that are less than 5 years old through NextRequest.


If you need to request a demand for a lien payoff

If you need to request a demand for a lien payoff

If you are a Title Company, Escrow Company, or financial institution you can ask what liens are on a property. You will need to include:

  • Property address
  • Parcel (block/lot) information
  • Title or escrow company name and address
  • Escrow number
  • Escrow officer's name, phone number, email, and fax number

Make sure to select "Public Health: Demand for Refuse lien/Payoff" in the "Select a Department" dropdown.

It can take up to 10 days to process the request. If the due date is a Saturday or Sunday, we will process the demand the following Monday. If the due date is on a federal holiday, we will process the demand the next business day. We do NOT accept rush or verbal requests. Demands are processed in the order that they are received.


If you need to update your mailing address

If you need to update your mailing address

If you need to change your mailing address, contact the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder. If you need to update the mailing address for only your garbage bills, call Recology at 415-330-1300.

If you need other help with garbage

If you need other help with garbage

Contact Recology at 415-330-1300 if:

  • You need to pay your garbage bill
  • You did not get your garbage bill
  • You have questions about your regular garbage bill
  • They missed garbage pick-up
  • You have missing or damaged garbage bins
  • You have bulky items that you need picked up from your residential property

Contact San Francisco Environment at 415-355-3700 if:

  • There are no blue and green garbage bins at a business or residential building
  • There is garbage contamination in the blue or green garbage bin
  • You're not sure what to put in the blue and/or green garbage bins

Get help


Refuse Lien Program

Last updated April 18, 2024