New California State Property Regulations 2017

On January 1, 2017 a new California Civil Code: Senate Bill No. 407 Chapter 587 requires that all homes built on or before January 1, 1994 must be equipped with water conserving plumbing fixtures including low flush toilets (1.6 gallons per flush) , showers (not more than 2.5 GPMs), and interior faucets (not more than 2.2 GPMs).

The Bill requires that a seller or transferor of a home, multi-residential, or commercial property disclose to a purchaser or transferee in writing the specific requirements to replace these fixtures. The Bill also requires to make specific disclosures in this regard. This most likely will factor into negotiations where the seller could remedy the issues, or the buyer  accepts those conditions and takes on the responsibility to make the upgrades. Understandably this should be documented to protect all parties involved.

Locally, the City Council of Santa Barbara on December 6, 2016 passed a regulation banning lawn watering with limited exceptions as we go into our sixth year of a drought. This regulation takes effect on January 1, 2017. Photo Santa Barbara Courthouse by Technopanorama

Get a Clue!

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The home you’re eyeing looks perfect in every way, but prior damage and other issues may be lurking in the house’s backstory. These are details you’ll want to know about before signing the closing papers. And you can, thanks to a free tool that lists insurance losses on a property going back seven years.  The majority of home insurance companies contribute claims history information to a database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE. Underwriters use the information in a CLUE report to rate insurance policies.They look at the claims history to see if the person applying for insurance hasn’t disclosed a certain condition or indicator of how the property is being maintained, or if there are several instances of the same type of loss.

These same facts and figures can help a home buyer determine whether to buy a particular house and how difficult and costly it might be to get homeowners insurance on the property.  If you’re clueless about CLUE, don’t feel embarrassed. A recent survey found that 82 percent of Americans have never heard of the database or the reports associated with it.  So, what’s in a clue report? A home’s CLUE loss history report provides insurance company names and policy numbers and any claim numbers. The report lists the dates of any claims, the loss types and amounts paid for losses, and it will tell if a claim was denied.  Weather-related losses, fires, theft, vandalism and water damage are some of the types of claims listed. But the report doesn’t indicate what part of the property or home was affected. You’d need to ask the homeowner for those details.  A report might be blank, for two reasons: 1.The homeowner did not make any claims in the past seven years. 2. The home was covered by an insurance company that doesn’t participate in CLUE.

“Claims for the property under a different owner also won’t be included either, and therefore not considered when rated for insurance,” says Jeffrey Ill, a vice president for homeowners insurance at Esurance in San Francisco.  How to get a Clue?  A free CLUE report can be obtained once a year from database giant LexisNexis. Requests can be made online or by calling (866) 312-8076.

Here’s the catch for a homebuyer: Only the owner of a property may access its CLUE report. “You must request the report from the owner of the home you’re considering buying. A savvy seller should obtain a CLUE report before showing the home, make several copies and have those available for potential buyers.

A Clue Report is not an inspection.  Potential buyers should use the CLUE report to let their home inspector know of any repairs that have been made so that the inspector can make sure the work was done correctly.  A CLUE is not a secret database, and it gives no score or recommendations. It just tells what happened in and outside the home. It doesn’t take the place of an inspection or disclosures from the seller. It’s an additional tool to evaluate the home and the cost of homeowners insurance.

Win Santa Barbara Dream Home!

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The Museum of Contemporary Art, MCA, of Santa Barbara is offering a “Dream Home Raffle” with a 1 in 20 odds of winning over 2,500 prizes. You could win this “Dream Home” or choose $3,000,000 in cash.

Over the last ten years the raffle has raised million of dollars for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara. MCASB advances creativity and inspires critical thinking through meaningful engagement with the art of our time. Due to the funds raised via the raffle, MCASB has been able to extend its mission to young people and adults throughout the Central Coast as well as provide a venue for artists from around the country.

For more information visit the MCASB’s website for this raffle: MCA Santa Barbara Dream Home Raffle