Home Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Inspections

Several laws were recently enacted that affect real estate transactions. One new disclosure that went into effect January 1, 2021, is the Home Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Disclosure. The Real Estate Inspection Company is the first home inspection company in California to offer Home Fire Hardening and Defensible Space (AB-38) inspections! Contact us at (800) 232-5180 or schedule now.

What is AB-38?

Assembly Bill 38 is a new disclosure that was implemented in response to the wildfires that continue to plague California. While most of California is subject to some degree of fire hazard, there are specific features that make some areas more hazardous. This new disclosure requires a seller of property located in a High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone to provide documentation to the buyer stating that the property meets certain conditions in compliance with defensible space requirements.

AB-38 is only required for residential structures of 1-4 units that were built prior to January 1, 2010, and are located in a high-or very-high fire severity zone. This information is included in the NHD form.

Home Fire Hardening & Defensible Space Inspections to Comply With AB-38

Our supplemental AB-38 inspection provides home sellers with the information they need to properly fill out their Home Fire Hardening and Defensible Space disclosure form and avoid a potentially costly non-disclosure claim. We do not provide a certification, since we are not a government agency. We do provide you with the information you need to pass a CAL FIRE inspection.

If a seller does not provide an evaluation or certification for the property they are selling, the buyer is agreeing to get one within the next 12 months. This can lead to costly tree trimming or removal, brush clearing, or other unanticipated expenses. Our detailed inspection report will inform home buyers of any modifications required to comply with defensible space requirements to help them budget for those changes, such as brush clearing or tree removal, or negotiate for those corrections during escrow.

You only need to get an inspection if your property is in a high, or very high, fire severity zone. This designation should be included on your Natural Hazards Disclosure (NHD).

The property owner will need to perform the necessary wildfire protection measures as specified within the inspection documentation and have the property inspected again prior to escrow or the buyer must agree to achieve compliance within a year as stated above.

You are only responsible for maintaining defensible space on the property involved in the transaction up to 100’ or the property line, whichever is closer. However, we do recommend contacting CAL FIRE or your local Fire Department if the area adjacent to your property, and within 100 feet of your house, is overgrown.

Why Choose Us?

Let the experts at The Real Estate Inspection Company give you the information you need to avoid a potentially costly non-disclosure claim. We have provided hundreds of buyer home inspections, pre-listing inspections, commercial property condition assessments, and more in San Diego County, Riverside County, and Orange County. Want to learn more? Contact us today at (800) 232-5180 or schedule online now!

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