Beginning January 2017, California Civil Code § 1101.4 requires that all homes built on or before January 1, 1994 must be equipped with water conserving plumbing fixtures. Although this law does not create a point of sale requirement (unlike water heater strapping and smoke alarm compliance), it does trigger a disclosure to the buyer (like carbon monoxide detectors). As the industry works through the application of the law, there is much confusion on everyone’s part as to what needs to be done and by whom. To help with this, C.A.R. is creating a client Q&A, modifying an existing disclosure, and modifying two seller disclosure forms. The Carbon Monoxide Detector Notice is being modified to become the Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures and Carbon Monoxide Detector Notice (C.A.R. Form WCMD, 12/16) (available December 12, 2016). Both the Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ) and the Exempt Seller Disclosure (ESD) are being modified to include a question for the seller to disclose whether they are aware of any non-compliant plumbing fixtures. The short, plain language Q&A for clients, set out below and which will include the revised WCMD, can be given separately.
2017 Water Conserving Plumbing Fixtures – What You Need to Know
Q. What does the law require?
A. In a nutshell, starting in 2017, the law requires installation of water conserving plumbing fixtures if you own a single-family home, and it is built before 1994 – whether or not it is being sold.
Q. I am selling my house. Are there any special disclosures that I must make?
A. The law requires you to disclose whether there are any non-compliant plumbing fixtures on the property. The form on the other side of this FAQ [the new WCMD will be on the back] has the specifications. But if you are unsure, then you should consult with someone who has expertise in the matter like a contractor or plumber.
Q. I am selling my house. Are there any installation requirements under this law?
A. No. There is nothing in this law that requires installation of water-conserving plumbing fixtures as a condition of sale. However, if you haven’t already installed water conserving plumbing fixtures on your pre-1994 single-family house, then you are in violation of the basic requirement of the law.
Q. I own a property in a city where there is an existing retrofit law for water-conserving fixtures as a point of sale requirement (such as Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco). Are those retrofit laws still in force?
A. Yes. Local laws passed before July of 2009 requiring retrofit of plumbing fixtures remain in effect. The state law also allows a locality to pass more restrictive requirements at any time.
Q. I would like to install water conserving plumbing fixtures. What can I do?
A. Call an expert such as a contractor or plumber. You can also go to your local home improvement store. You may wish to contact your local water service provider to find out if they offer low-cost or even no-cost plumbing fixtures.
While not part of the client piece, the C.A.R. Legal Q&A Water Conserving Plumbing Fixtures has additional information.