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California's Local Disclosure Requirements

by The Michel Team 09/14/2020

Photo by Expect Best from Pexels

Certain cities and counties in California require disclosures in addition to the state-required disclosures. The real estate disclosure forms provide space for disclosures that sellers might make on their own, such as whether an adjoining property has mineral rights, timber rights or other disclosures. And, some zoned areas require mandatory disclosures for natural hazards and other property disclosures.

Flood Zones

Some areas are required to disclose whether the property is in a special flood zone area: Zone A or Zone V. The Federal Emergency Management Agency determined that certain areas fall into these special flood zones. If you or your real estate agent has actual knowledge that your property is in one of these zones, or if your city or county has a list of properties that are located in either of these special flood zones, you must disclose it when as part of the purchase contract.

Additionally, if your home is in an area that could flood if a dam breaks, you must also disclose that information.

Fire Zones

You must also disclose a high fire hazard severity zone if the home you are selling is located in this area in certain cities and / or counties. A list of homes in high fire hazard severity zones is posted at certain county offices, including the county planning agency, county recorder and county assessor.

A state responsibility area, otherwise known as a designated wildland area, is also an area that has a high risk for forest fires. If the home you are selling is in one of these areas, you must also disclose that to potential buyers. As with high fire hazard severity zones, properties in the state responsibility areas are listed at certain county offices.

Earthquake Zones

Earthquake faults are usually about 1/4-mile wide. Cities and towns in these areas are in earthquake zones that must be disclosed to potential buyers. The list of properties in earthquake zones is posted in county offices, including the county assessor, the county recorder and the county planning agency.

You must also disclose whether you are in a seismic hazard zone to potential buyers. Seismic hazard zones have a higher risk of landslides, strong ground shaking and soil liquefaction because of fault zones. Homes in areas zoned as seismic hazard zones are also listed at county offices.

Due Diligence

If a seller does not know that his or her property is located in one of these zones, and if the property is in one of these zones but not listed at one of the mentioned county offices, the seller would be unable to disclose this information. Buyers should carefully research properties they are interested in and should include these zones as exceptions if they prefer not to buy in flood, earthquake and fire zones.

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The Michel Team

Hi, We are Joe and Astrid Michel. Together we are The Michel Team and we would love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having real estate professionals by your side. We would be honored to put our real estate experience to work for you.