In the last 10 years Truckee has seen historic drought, overgrown forests and more people than ever moving to the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), creating the perfect storm for more dangerous wildfire conditions.
In an effort to increase safety of homes the Truckee Fire Protection District (TFPD) requires property owners to maintain their property in compliance with Public Resources Code (PRC) 4291 by creating “defensible space.”
Now, in addition to the current requirements, TFPD has announced a new inspection and disclosure requirement for all real estate transactions, as a condition of sale. Truckee Fire Protection Ordinance 01-2019 will affect transactions occurring within the Truckee Fire Protection District boundaries starting June 1, 2019.
The purpose of these requirements is to implement a simple but effective way to increase wildfire safety at the time of sale and ultimately to reduce the likelihood of a wildfire spreading to homes.
“With the recent California wildfires, we are all operating at a new heightened sense of awareness and risk mitigation,” said Katherina Haug, Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty associate. “Especially in our forested mountainous environment at Lake Tahoe and Truckee, measures such as this new ordinance, ensure that homeowners are proactive, and those of us in the real estate industry can guide and assist in protecting our clients’ very special assets. We all need to work together in order to ensure the devastation of our land and homes does not continue.”
In the final stages of finalizing a transaction, purchasers will be required to read and sign a two-page disclosure document spelling out the law’s requirements and “acknowledging the high risk of wildfire to the area and the laws requiring their obligation to ensure defensible space.”
An additional inspection will need to be requested from TFPD by the seller prior to the close of escrow. To request an inspection, homeowners are encouraged to submit a request on TFPD’s website.
- A house is required to be in compliance within three years transfer of ownership.
- If the transaction occurs during winter, and snow prohibits full inspection, the Fire District or HOA will provide a partial inspection of the property based on what can be determined.
- Foreclosures and other involuntary sales are exempt.
- Failure to comply could result in a $1,000 fine per day of infraction, and/or up to 90 days in Jail.
- Sample Inspection form can be seen here.
- Sample disclosure statement can be seen here.
Don’t be blindsided by insurance needs. Make time to talk to an insurance broker with connections to many different insurers. You may need to work with them to get the best rates and find the coverage options best suited for your situation. Understand that insurance options have become limited in the wildfire zones throughout California.
According to JR Murphy with Aegis Insurance Markets “It is always good to shop around with as many agencies as possible to try to find the best option. Good practices for buyers and sellers is to note the date or year of any upgrades made to a home, the roof being the most important.”