For properties built before 1994, a new regulation is coming into effect. California law calls for installation of water-conserving plumbing fixtures when the existing plumbing fixtures are “noncompliant” by January 1, 2017.
A noncompliant plumbing fixture means: (1) any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush; (2) any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush; (3) any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute; and (4) any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute. (Cal. Civ. Code Sec. 1101.3)
Single Family Residences
By January 1, 2017, all single-family residences must replace all noncompliant plumbing fixtures. Also starting on that date, sellers of such properties must disclose to prospective buyers whether the property includes any noncompliant plumbing fixtures.
How is this going to be enforced? If a single-family residence is altered or improved on or after January 1, 2014, the installation of compliant fixtures must be a condition of final permit approval. In other words, if you do anything to your home that requires a permit, you will not be able to get final sign off on the permit until your water fixtures are in compliance. (Cal. Civ. Code Sec. 1101.4)
Multi-Family and Commercial Properties
Different requirements and compliance deadlines apply to multi-family residential properties and commercial properties. By January 1, 2019, all multi- family and commercial properties must replace all noncompliant plumbing fixtures. Also starting on that date, sellers of such properties must disclose to prospective buyers whether the property includes any noncompliant plumbing fixtures.
In addition, beginning January 1, 2014, such properties must, as a condition of final permit approval, replace all plumbing fixtures with water-conserving fixtures if:
1. Permits are obtained to increase the floor area by more than 10%; or,
2. Building alterations or improvements exceed $150,000 in costs; or,
3. Permits are obtained for a room with plumbing fixtures.
For more details property owners and buyers should review California Civil Code Sections 1101.1 – 1101.9 and consult with a qualified California real estate attorney with questions.