Do You Need to install Water Conserving Fixtures if you’re selling your house in California

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California Mandates Water-Conserving Fixtures

A new California law that takes affect  January 1, 2017 requires property owners to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures for all homes built prior to 1994. This new legislation was enacted as a way to encourage ongoing water conservation during our continuing drought conditions.

Owners of single family homes are required to comply by 2017 and all other properties must comply by 2019. In addition, any property that is altered or improved after 2014 must have water-conserving water fixtures installed as a condition of final permit approval.

So what does this mean for homeowners who are selling their homes? Interestingly, there is currently no point of sale requirement in the legislation. That means that while homeowners may be legally required to install the water-conserving devices in their homes,  they are not required to be installed as a condition of the sale of a home.

The law does, however, create a disclose obligation for the seller.

Initially the law only requires a seller to check a box on the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) as to whether or not there are water conserving fixtures installed on the property. In later years, sellers will be required to disclose the requirement to install water-conserving fixtures and whether or not the property has any non-compliant fixtures.

So what are non-compliant water fixtures? This new law defines the following as non-compliant water fixtures:

  • any toilet manufactured to use more that 1.6 gallons of water per flush
  • any urinal manufactured to use more than 1 gallon of water per flush
  • any shower head manufactured to have a flow capicity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute
  • any interior faucet that releases more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute

Home buyers should be aware of these new requirements as purchase of a home that does not comply with this new law could result in additional expense for the buyer if the state decides to start enforcing these regulations more rigorously at some point in the future. Buyers may want to negotiate seller credits or request that a seller install compliant fixtures as a condition for their completing the purchase of a home.

If you have questions about this new legislation and what it means to you, whether you’re considering buying or selling a home,  call me at (310) 613-2465.