Civil code boxes to check, is it Valentine’s Day yet?
By Ken McCord
Every year there are lonely people on Valentine’s Day. Every year there are also various changes to our California Association of Realtors contracts. The forms keep getting more complicated, with more pages, disclosures and boxes to check. One new addition to our forms is Section 1101.4 of the California Civil Code.
This states that California single-family residences, built on or before Jan. 1, 1994, be equipped with water-conserving plumbing fixtures on, or after, Jan. 1, 2017. The form also states, “On and after Jan. 1, 2017, a seller or transferor of single-family residential real property shall disclose in writing to the prospective purchaser or transferee the requirements of subdivision (b) [that all noncompliant fixtures be replaced] and whether the real property includes any noncompliant fixtures.”
Ok, so what fixtures are not in compliance?
According to 1101.3(c) of the California Civil Code, noncompliant plumbing fixtures means any of the following:
(1) Any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush;
(2) Any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush;
(3) Any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute;
(4) Any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.
In many communities, all homes would already be compliant, since this has been part of federal law since 1992. For many readers, this may only apply when it’s time to sell.
What if you have a house that is noncompliant? Do you have to make repairs before close of escrow?
There is a lot of discussion and confusion on this topic. While it is law that everything has to be low flow, there are currently no point-of-sale requirements in Orange County. There has to be disclosure of noncompliance, and diligence is required on how the purchase contract is written regarding this.
I do not think this is all ironed out yet. For example, there is a little tiny box on our purchase contract, under Section B-2, that can be checked by buyers, asking the seller to pay for minimum mandatory government retrofit standards. Many agents in this area have never bothered to have sellers remove this in counteroffers, because it has never applied before. If a seller has a fixer-upper built in 1975 that still has that green shag carpet and original fixtures, that little box might be important to address now.
Ok, readers, I tried to make this article on Section 1101.4 of the Civil Code sound “sexy” and “interesting.” Please note, I did manage to get “sexy” and “civil code” into the same sentence in a real estate article. And for that reason alone, I’d be a great Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!