California implements new wildfire hazard disclosures on real estate transactions

Although natural hazard disclosure statements were already a legal requirement in California, recent legislation (Assembly Bill 38, 2019) now greatly expands the scope of the disclosure for properties located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone. On or after January 1, 2021, the seller of any real property located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone is required to provide a prescribed disclosure notice to the buyer, if the home was constructed before January 1, 2020, of information relating to fire hardening improvements on the property and a list of specified features that may make the home vulnerable to wildfire and flying embers and which features, if any, that exist on the home of which the seller is aware. On or after July 1, 2025, the disclosure notice must also include the State Fire Marshal’s list of low-cost retrofits. A seller who has obtained a specified final inspection report must also provide to the buyer a copy of that report or information on where a copy may be obtained. The specific section of the new law as amended is available here (Article 1.5, §1102.6f)