In the city of São Paulo about 10% of households are either closed or vacant. A large part of them is located in areas well provided with infrastructure and services, while part of the population lives in precarious settlements and without access to basic services. In 2014, the city hall proceeded with the implementation of urban planning instruments to reduce property vacancy and, by this means, it intended to expand the offer of housing. Based on a case study developed with document research, complemented by interviews with key actors and participant observation, this article describes and analyzes the implementation of the instruments of the social function of property between the years 2014 to 2016, exploring the institutional arrangement constituted to carry out this initiative, and the quantitative results for the period from 2014 to 2019. Observing the trajectory of the urban planning sector in São Paulo, we argue that this institutional arrangement represents an expansion of the sector's scope of action and was a pillar fundamental for the application of the instruments, which achieved expressive results and consolidated itself as a relevant experience in national context.