What is a "Resale" Inspection?
Fire Department "Resale" inpections are required by local ordinance in the City of Larkspur and Town of Corte Madera. The Residential Property Resale Inspection is an exterior inspection of the residence required to ensure compliance with state law and local ordinances, primarily related to wildfire hazards. The report and code requirements are to be included in the seller's disclosures. Buyers are required to maintain properties in compliance with vegetation management and wildfire hazard codes and standards in perpetuity.
These requirements are in place for all properties in the WUI, at all times - not just when a property is sold. The resale inspection affords the fire department an opportunity to ensure that a property is brought up to standard and that new residents understand the requirements for long term maintenance of their property. This helps keep insurance available and more affordable, reduces risk to the community, and improves safety for all residents and properties.
Do I still need to correct issues if I decide not to sell the home?
What is AB38?
AB38, a state law, says that when you sell property that is located in certain areas such as the "Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)" and/or areas designated by the State of California as a high or very high fire hazard severity zone, you'll need documentation of a current, compliant Widlfire Defensible Space Inspection that complies with local vegetation management ordinances (CAFC 4007.2, 4908, PRC 4291).
If your property is in a designated WUI area of Corte Madera or ANYWHERE in Larkspur (including incorporated Greenbrae) you'll need a resale inspection REGARDLESS of what the state or county says.
How do I request a Resale Inspection?
Resale Inspections are now requested directly through the Town of Corte Madera or the City of Larkspur, depending on the property's address.
What happens after I submit the request?
By requesting a Fire Department Resale Inspection, you grant permission for a wildfire hazard compliance inspection to be conducted at the address you list. You will receive a confirmation email after submittal and an inspection will occur within 7-10 business days. A fire hazard inspection notice will be emailed within 10 business days.
When should I submit the request?
Submit your request as soon as possible when listing a property for sale. To comply with state and local law, you'll need a copy of the completed inspection report that shows proof the property has been inspected, and has passed that inspection, within six (6) months prior to entering into a sales contract. Please complete all required defensible space work PRIOR to submitting your request to save time for all of us and prevent delays in the property's sale.
Do I need a resale inspection even if my property received an annual wildfire hazard inspection in the same year?
Yes. Our inspectors must confirm that the property is compliant at the time of sale. Our periodic inspections may not receive follow-up and strict enforcement - resale inspections require strict compliance with all relevant wildfire codes.
What if my property does not pass the inspection?
If your property does not pass on the first attempt, the inspection report will explain what work needs to be completed and schedule another appointment at a later date. Fire code compliance is required, and issues identified must be corrected within 30 days. Although state ;law, AB 38, sates that if the property will not meet compliance with vegetation management codes and ordinances, the seller and the buyer shall enter into a written agreement pursuant to which the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year after closing escrow. This does not grant an exemption from compliance - local codes and ordinances require corrections within 30 days. Failure to correct issues identified during any wildfire hazard inspection may result in abatement and liens.
Who is responsible - buyer, or seller?
Untimately, the owner of any property is reponsible for compliance with codes and ordinances. During the sale of a property, in some cases buyer and seller negotiate to make corrections within the time period specified in the resale report. Extensions may be granted in some cases, however keep in mind that compliance with codes was ALWAYS required for the property. These are not issues that only apply at the sale of the home. The only difference is that the fire department enforcement process does not offer exemptions for existing violations at the time of resale.
Are Resale Inspections Different in Larkspur vs Corte Madera?
The Town of Corte Madera and City of Larkspur each require a Fire Department Resale Inspection prior to sale of certain real estate properties. The inspections are identical, and are performed by inspectors from Central Marin Fire Department.
The Town of Corte Madera requires a Fire Department residential resale inspection and report on all single-family dwellings listed for sale within the Corte Madera limits and within the designated Wildland Urban Interface (effective November 5, 2021).
The City of Larkspur Municipal Code Section 15.40.040 requires a Fire Department residential resale inspection and report on all single-family dwellings listed for sale within the Larkspur City limits and incorporated Greenbrae effective February 15, 2020. A fire department resale inspection is not required for individual condominiums or townhomes unless the entire building/complex is being sold.
A fee of $190 will be assessed for each individual inspection. A Central Marin Fire Department Inspector will complete the inspection within 10 business days of application/request submittal. To request an inspection, please complete the online form and submit a secure payment by credit card. An appointment time is not required, as we do not enter the dwelling. We are unable to accomodate requests for appointment scheduling at this time. Submitting a request grants the Central Marin Fire Authority access to the exterior of the property during weekday business hours.
The Residential Property Resale Inspection is an exterior inspection of the residence required to ensure compliance with state law and local ordinances, primarily related to wildfire hazards. The report and code requirements are to be included in the seller's disclosures. Buyers are required to maintain properties in compliance with vegetation management and wildfire hazard codes and standards in perpetuity.
Do I need to remove bamboo, juniper, and Italian cypress?
Yes. California Fire Code section 4907.2 as adopted and amended by the Town of Corte Madera and City of Larkspur require all fire hazardous plants identified by the fire department to be removed. These are examples of common fire hazardous plants. Other plant species, and all dead vegetation regardless of species, must be removed. See the full requirements below.