Beginning January 2017 Home Owners are Required to Disclose Non-WCP Plumbing Fixtures

Starting January 2017, all single-family homes in California are required to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures (WCP) for any homes which were constructed prior to 1994. This is not a point-of-sale requirement but rather, a stipulation that comes with owning a home.

What fixtures should be installed for homes built before 1994?

According to the new rules installation of WCP fixtures are required when the current ones utilize more than the following amounts of water:

  • Any toilet designed to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush
  • Any urinal built to use more than a gallon of water per flush
  • Any shower head designed to have a water flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute
  • Any in-house faucet that produces more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute

Can one comply with the new rules by putting a brick in the toilet tank?

The short answer is no.
While displacing water by putting a brick or other large object in the flush tank does reduce the amount of water used per flush, this technique will not put a toilet into compliance with the new law. According to the new rules, compliance is dependent on whether a toilet was manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of per flush, regardless of the amount of water actually utilized.

Disclosures for single-property homes constructed before 1994

In terms of sale, the new regulations require three disclosures:

  1. Disclosure based on legal requirements
    This involves the seller informing the buyer in writing that they must replace non-compliant fixtures with WCP if the property was built before 1994.
  2. Disclosure of non-compliant fixtures
    The seller must also disclose to the buyer in writing whether or not the property has any non-compliant fixtures.
  3. The seller’s affirmation
    In case there is a need for a Transfer Disclosure Statement, also known as a TDS form, the law states that the seller must specifically affirm that the disclosures of the seller are not those of an agent, are not destined to be part of any contract, do not serve as a warranty, and will not act as a substitute for the buyer’s own inspection.

Are there still local ordinance retrofit laws in place?

Even though the WCP fixture laws do not amount to a point-of-sale requirement, numerous local authorities have their own WCP fixture regulations that do, in fact, create a point-of-sale requirement. Local ordinances in place before July 1, 2009 are grandfathered in, so some counties and municipalities have less stringent regulations.

For an added level of protection

HomeGuard has been including the following retrofit advisory in all of our NHD reports:
Senate Bill 407 establishes requirements for residential and commercial real property built and available for use on or before January 1, 1994, for replacing plumbing fixtures that are not water conserving. The law requires all single-family homes to have all noncompliant plumbing fixtures retrofitted with more efficient models by 2017, and applies for any current remodels or home alterations. The law also requires, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, that a seller or transferor of most types of real property to disclose to a purchaser or transferee, in writing, the requirements for replacing plumbing fixtures and whether their real property includes noncompliant plumbing. This law also applies to commercial property beginning in 2019.

Order Home Inspections from Homeguard to Know Where You Stand

HomeGuard is an established Northern California termite, home, and roof inspection company which also provides NHD reports and serves the residents throughout much of northern California. Contact us today to schedule an inspection and get the information you need to make important buying and maintenance decisions for your home. Please note, HomeGuard does not determine if any fixtures or toilets are not water conserving.