In 2009, then California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB-407 into law. The law requires that water-efficient fixtures be installed in homes and commercial properties.
The law defines non-compliant water fixtures as:
- Any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
- Any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush.
- Any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
- Any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.
Residential Property Owners
One of the main features of this law is that as of January 1, 2017 all water fixtures in a single-family home are to be replaced with water-efficient fixtures. Most homes that have undergone a major, permitted remodel after 2014 were required to update plumbing fixtures to water-efficient fixtures to obtain a building permit.
b) On or before January 1, 2017, noncompliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property shall be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.
(c) On and after January 1, 2017, a seller or transferor of single-family residential real property shall disclose in writing to the prospective purchaser or transferee the requirements of subdivision (b) and whether the real property includes any noncompliant plumbing fixtures.
Disclosure on Transfer (Sale)
This law requires that the seller must disclose to buyers if the fixtures in their home are in compliance with this law.
Do you know if all of your fixtures are in compliance? I certainly don’t. This will likely require you to either update all the fixtures to low flow, or have an inspection certifying that they are low flow.
Commercial Real Estate and Multifamily Properties
Commercial properties and multifamily real estate have to be in compliance by January 1, 2019. For purposes of the law, the authors defined commercial real estate and multifamily real estate:
(a) “Commercial real property” means any real property that is improved with, or consisting of, a building that is intended for commercial use, including hotels and motels, that is not a single-family residential real property or a multifamily residential real property.(b) “Multifamily residential real property” means any real property that is improved with, or consisting of, a building containing more than one unit that is intended for human habitation, or any mixed residential-commercial buildings or portions thereof that are intended for human habitation. Multifamily residential real property includes residential hotels but does not include hotels and motels that are not residential hotels.
Duplexes, Triplexes, and Fourplexes
Based on the definition of multifamily residential real estate as containing more than one unit intended for human habitation, most duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes should fit into this category.
Disclosure on Sale or Transfer
Again the law requires that the seller of commercial real estate or multifamily property disclose to the buyer if the property is in compliance.
Does this mean that the state is going to create the plumbing police? Beats me. The law does allow for local communities and water retailers to enact ordinances to enforce compliance. Check with your local municipalities and water district to see if they have an enforcement mechanism.
If you are considering selling residential real estate in the near future you will need to work with your real estate professional to comply with this law. Hiring a property inspector can go a long ways towards this.
It looks like the plumbers, handymen, and handywomen of California are going to have a lot of faucets to fix.