Effective January 1, 2017, new water conservation regulations will take effect for interior water fixtures in almost all single family residential properties. Here’s what you need to know:
In 1992, the California Legislature passed SB–1224. This senate bill imposed water conservation standards on all toilets and urinals installed in all single family residential homes, multi–family residential properties, and commercial properties. Subsequently in 2009, with California’s on–going drought, the Legislature passed SB–407, extending the toilet and urinal standards to all properties and further added shower and faucet standards. Those standards are:
- Toilets – no more than 1.6 gal/flush
- Urinals – no more than 1.0 gal/flush
- Showers – no more than 2.5 gal/min
- Internal Faucets – no more than 2.2 gal/min
The lawmakers appreciated that complying with these standards could cause some economic hardship if retrofit was immediately required, so a schedule of compliance was established:
- By January 1, 2017, all single family residences must be in compliance; and
- By January 1, 2019, all multi–family and commercial properties must be in compliance.
In addition, if any such properties were being substantially improved or refinanced prior to the compliance deadline, compliance must occur at the time of improvement or refinance.
The law requires that any Seller must disclose
to any Buyer whether or not the property is compliant with the water conservation law. This is, in part, already referenced in the California Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (“TDS”) and non–compliance would have to be disclosed on the Seller Property Questionnaire (“SPQ”). While the law does not impose this disclosure obligation on real estate agents
, the prudent agent should inquire whether or not a property is in compliance since it is possible that a Seller might not be aware of the law.
Currently, there are no state–wide monetary sanctions set forth in the law for non–compliance. However, local governments and water agencies have the authority to impose additional regulations which could include non–compliance penalties. Further, non–disclosing Sellers would reasonably be liable
to Buyers for the costs of compliance.
Last month, I spoke at the SAR Main Meeting on premier services from Whitton Plumbing
. During the Q&A portion, I was asked about difficulties that some owners apparently had in
getting insurance coverage for Whitton Plumbing. At that point, I made what could be considered a derogatory comment about an insurance company claims procedure. After the session, I was approached by a very well–respected insurance professional who clarified that reputable insurance companies always pay Whitton Plumbing claims and that
claims denials are definitely not typical, as I had implied. In retrospect, I realize that he was right and I was wrong. For this I apologize.
Steve Beede, Attorney and President, BPE Law Group, P.C.
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