What are the various Disclosure Laws related to Real Estate?
1: What Is A Natural Hazards Disclosure?
The Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement states that “The transferor and his or her agent(s) disclose the following information with the knowledge that even though this is not a warranty, prospective transferees may rely on this information in deciding whether and on what terms to purchase the subject property.”
Based on knowledge and maps drawn by the state and federal governments, the seller must answer the following questions:
Does the real property lie within the following hazardous area(s)?
- A Special Flood Hazard Area (any type Zone “A” or “V”) designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
- An Area of Potential Flooding shown on a dam failure inundation map pursuant to Section 8589.5 of the Government Code
- A Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone pursuant to Section 51178 or 51170 of the Government Code
- State Fire Responsibility Area that may contain substantial forest fire risks and hazards pursuant to Section 4125 of the Public Resources Code.
- An Earthquake Fault Zone pursuant to Section 2622 of the Public Resources Code
- A Seismic Hazard Zone pursuant to Section 2696 of the Public Resources Code
- Landslide Hazard Zone
- Liquefaction Zone
- Military Ordnance Disclosure
- Commercial/Industrial Disclosure
- Airport Proximity Disclosure
- Database Disclosure (Megan’s Law)
- Mold Disclosure
- Local Disclosure
- Mello-Roos Disclosure
- Special Assessment (1915 Bond) Addendum
2: What Is A Transfer Disclosure?
Section 1102 of the Civil Code requires that the Seller of real property, which includes 1 to 4 units in the State of California, will disclose the condition of the property. The seller is to disclose information that prospective Buyers may rely on in deciding whether and on what terms to purchase the subject property.
Some of the items on the required disclosure are:
- Whether or not the Seller is occupying the property;
- Items that the property contains;
- Disclosure if any of those items are not in operating condition;
- Disclosure if Seller is aware of any significant defects or malfunctions;
- A description of any defects or malfunctions;
- Disclosure of any substances, material, or products which may be an environmental hazard;
- Features of the property that may be shared in common with adjoining landowners;
- Any encroachments or easements;
- Any room additions, structural modifications, or other alterations or repairs made without necessary permits;
- Any room additions, structural modifications, or other alterations or repairs not in compliance with building codes;
- Fill on the property;
- Any settling from any cause, or slippage, sliding, or other soil problems;
- Flooding, drainage or grading problems;
- Major damage to the property from fire, earthquake, floods, landslides;
- Any zoning violations, nonconforming uses, violations of “setback” requirements;
- Neighborhood noise problems or other nuisances;
- CC&Rs or other deed restrictions;
- Homeowners’ Association which has authority over the property;
- Any “common area”;
- Any notices of abatement against the property;
- Any lawsuits by or against the Seller threatening to affect the real property.
A Supplemental Statutory Disclosures is also mandatory.
3: Water Heater Straps
California law requires that all new and replacement water heaters and existing residential water heaters be braced, anchored, or strapped to resist falling or horizontal displacement due to earthquake motion. (Health and Safety Code §19211)
Some local ordinances may impose less stringent or more stringent water heater bracing, anchoring, or strapping requirements than does California law. Therefore, it is also important to check with local, city or county building and safety departments regarding the applicable water heater bracing, anchoring, or strapping requirements for your property.
California Health and Safety Code §19211 requires the seller of any real property containing a water heater to certify, in writing, that the seller is in compliance with California state law.
4: Smoke Alarms
California law requires that every single-family dwelling and factory built housing unit sold on or after January 1, 1986, must have an operable smoke detector, approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal, installed in accordance with the State Fire Marshal’s regulations. (Health and Safety Code §13113.8)
Some local ordinances impose less stringent or more stringent smoke detector requirements than does California law. Therefore, it is important to check with local, city or county building and safety departments regarding the applicable smoke detector requirements for your property.
California Health and Safety Code §13113.8(b) requires every transferor of any real property containing a single-family dwelling, whether the transfer is made by sale, exchange, or real property sales contract (installment sales contract), to deliver to the transferee a written statement indicating that the transferor is in compliance with California state law concerning smoke detectors.
The above information provides all those involved in a home sale the various disclosure laws real estate for clarification of what are required.