New for 2017: CA Law for Low Use Water Fixtures

by arlene on January 11, 2017

California now leads the nation with standards that could save over 10 billion gallons of water in the first year and eventually over 100 billion gallons of water per year according to the California Energy Commission.

Effective January 1, 2017, new water conservation regulations Screenshot 2017-01-11 20.16.39took effect for interior water fixtures in almost all single family residential properties. Here’s what you need to know:

Background: 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

Compliance Deadlines: 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.

Disclosure Obligations: 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 a key disclosure form,  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.

Non–Compliance Penalties: 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. It will be interesting to see whether effective means of compliance will emerge.

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Me with David Hollandar

Me with David Hollandar

Last Saturday I enjoyed being a guest on Protect Your Assets, a radio show on KNBR 680 AM. The host, David Hollander, is my financial advisor and producer of the show that airs each Saturday morning from 8 – 9 am. This was my third appearance on the show, and still I was amazed at how quickly time zips by on the air!

My topic was the impact of the Election on our local real estate market, and I began with a comment about how tricky it is to make any predictions, especially given our recent experience of many clouded crystal balls! But there are some reactions that are already in evidence in our market:

Emotional: I’ve already heard stories of some buyers who had planned to move to this country and will now delay their move here for four years. Within our borders we may see buyers living in red counties or states move to the East Bay to seek life in sanctuary cities. Some buyers are talking about putting their search on hold, and sellers too may take a wait and see attitude until we actually experience the new administration. Others talked even before the election about moving to Canada…will these various scenarios balance out?

Economic: Obviously the rapid rise in interest rates will be the main impact on our market. I shared on air an example of my set of current buyers who had been quoted around 3.75% during the search, 3.81% soon after the election, and who now will be paying a rate of 4.25%. As a rough calculation, for each increase of a half point, buyers will pay $30 additional per month for each $100K of mortgage. There is always so much more I would have liked to have shared! But we know that some buyers will now be priced out of the market. Others will be inspired to finally jump in…and how will those scenarios balance out??

On a more personal level I am feeling inspired to step forward, to donate to causes that share my values and to donate my time where I think it can make a difference. I talk with so many people who feel the same, and together we truly can make a difference.

I hope this holiday season will be a time when you enjoy some special pleasures, and the company of family and friends with renewed appreciation. For a guide to local holiday events, click on the Calendar of Community Events link to the right. Thank you for being part of my community!

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The East Bay Autumn Market: Does it become more vibrant like the leaves, or cool with the weather?

October 24, 2016

  I love this time of year, with the transition to autumn and the turning of colors. And I’m one who really looks forward to celebrating Halloween. I suspect there will be some especially scary politician costumes this Halloween–or are they out there already?! I want to share a bit of  what it looks like behind-the-scenes as […]

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Berkeley Mid-Century Modern

June 19, 2016

It’s my pleasure to be representing 183 Fairlawn Drive. This Chalet-style home with its clean lines and inviting interior offers a peaceful retreat in the hills. And yet you are close to all of the wonderful amenities of Berkeley: its great neighborhoods, Lawrence Hall of Science, LBL, the UC Campus and Tilden Park. A bus stop is […]

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Behind the Scenes: the Real Value I Bring as a Realtor

May 16, 2016

I’m always fascinated to hear what people assume it’s like to be a Realtor. These past couple of weeks I’ve had several “back story” situations that I think would surprise most consumers about what are our most key duties, and how much difference an agent makes in the outcome of a deal. And so gentle […]

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800 Shattuck — The Pratt-Thomas House

April 3, 2016

The Pratt-Thomas House at 800 Shattuck Avenue is available for the first time in almost 50 years. The first of three neighboring homes designed by John Hudson Thomas for John Pratt in 1911, this is where Thomas himself lived for several years after its completion. This may be one of the most photographed homes in […]

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Sometime just asking the question can hurt you–Changes in the Insurance Industry

April 1, 2016

After the spring rains came additional things falling: trees. This is a good time to re-evaluate your insurance, and be sure that you know what would be your coverage in case a tree fell either on your property, or one of your trees fell on your neighbor.  Do you have a deductible that is so high […]

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The 2016 East Bay Real Estate Market Opens with Few Options, Lots of Cash

February 15, 2016

  It feels like spring, and daffodils, those harbingers of our new real estate market, are in bloom all around the East Bay. I know lots of properties are being prepared to come on the market, but right now the available homes are very scarce indeed. In all of Berkeley, in a $400K range of prices […]

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Autumn Market Starts with Record High Prices

September 28, 2015

The Autumn market has just begun amidst the highest median home prices ever in the East Bay. Berkeley has crested over $1M, Albany and Alameda both around $900K, and El Cerrito, is now $775K. My colleagues at Red Oak got some good air time on KPIX last week, showing the summary of our market: –1/3 […]

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One Day in the Sun: A day in the life of an East Bay listing agent

March 13, 2015

I was recently asked what is one of the favorite parts of my job as a Realtor? Certainly there are several very satisfying aspects, including providing tips about the home-buying process to new buyers, and sharing my knowledge about local architecture with people considering moving here from another area. But in this market, where inventory […]

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