As of January 1, 2021, sellers are required to complete the Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Advisory (FHDS) should their property fall within a high to very high fire hazard zone; built before 2010; residential one to four properties; condominiums or other common interest development units; or manufactured homes. If the seller is not sure, there is a state website where the property address can be inputted to determine if the property does fall in high to very high fire zones.
Fire is a constant risk in California. Be sure to confirm with sellers whether their properties lie within high to very high fire zones. To identify fire zones, visit: Fire Hazard Severity Zones Maps.
In addition to the FHDS requirements, as of July 1, 2021, homeowners are required to also maintain a defensible space between a structure on the property and any flammable grass, trees, shrubs, or wildland area that surround it. Sellers of these properties will need to provide documentation that their property is in compliance with the defensible space laws, or the buyers will be required to agree to obtain such documentation of compliance in the future.
For the buyer to take on the responsibility, they will need to contact their local Fire District to request an extension to complete the work.
Fire Districts in Contra Costa County request that inspection requests be placed as soon as the seller intends to place the listing on the MLS as it can take a week for the Fire District to respond to the requestor even make it out to the property. The Fire Districts also request that the property owner is at the inspection to discuss any concerns the Fire District might have regarding the property at that time.
The seller will need to determine which jurisdiction their property falls, either the local municipality or a Fire Protection District.
Fire Districts in Contra Costa County:
Recently the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District (SRVFPD) created an application to assist its residents in determining if their property falls within a high to very high fire zone. The application is called ArcGis Explorer which is available for both Apple and Droid phones in the app stores. Once the app is downloaded, SRVFPD’s coverage map is titled “Defensible Space Inspection Requests.” This map will allow residents to input the address and determine if the property falls in a high or very high fire zone. This map can also be accessed through SRVFPD website here or via the state map here.