A new plumbing fixture law, California Civil Code § 1101.4, took effect on January 1, 2017 and will affect home buyers and sellers in California. The law 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 – like water heater strapping and smoke alarm compliance – it does trigger a disclosure to the buyer, like the one already used for carbon monoxide detectors.
As the real estate industry works through the application of the law, there is a lot of confusion on everyone’s part as to what needs to be done and by whom. To help with this, C.A.R. has created a client Q&A to clarify the law’s intent. See the questions and answers below.
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.
A: The law requires you to disclose whether there are any non-compliant plumbing fixtures on the property. If you are unsure, then you should consult with someone who has expertise in the matter like a contractor or plumber.
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.
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.
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.