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A Message From The President

January 29th, 2014 · No Comments · American Riviera, Carpinteria, Carpinteria Real Estate, Ennisbrook, Hope Ranch Real Estate, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Real Estate, Property Search, Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Earthquake, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Summerland Real Estate, The Real Estate Concierge, The Real Estate Scene, Zoning Information Reports

     Time to Sunset Zoning Information Reports
     In 2014 The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors will continue pressing for local legislative changes on behalf of current and future property owners. One issue we have been working on for several years is the City of Santa Barbara Zoning Information Reports, a report based on an inspection of the property, and review of city permits and plans by city personal.  These reports, which have been required  on every residential transaction for decades, have in the past typically only called out the most egregious violations – or missed them altogether.  The city now, with new personal, is finding that many past reports are inaccurate.  Since the city never took responsibility for the accuracy of the reports, even as buyers relied upon them, they are now enforcing the correction of violations that may have existed for several past Zoning Information Reports – and for decades.
     When these inspections and reports were first instituted in the 70’s, the prevailing rule was”buyer beware.”  The seller was not required to disclose any defects and may have in fact tried to hide the problems.  Today, the rule has reversed.  If a seller fails to disclose a defect they are aware of, such as any un-permitted repair or construction, they are liable and may find themselves in court paying large damages.
     The Transfer Disclosure Statement, used in every residential transaction and mandated by state law, specifically ask the Seller if they are aware of any un-permitted repairs or construction. Further, buyers are admonished to research permits and plans on every purchase.  These are available at the City’s offices at Garden and Cota.  Professional planners can be hired to provide this research if a buyer feels overwhelmed or un-qualified to do it, and these planners take on NO liability for their reports.  The point is, a service provided by the City that may have once been valuable to for buyers, is no longer needed, and the tax it puts on every single and multi family transaction, $465 or more, for a report that the City takes no responsibility for, is a waste that should be ended now.
     Ed Fuller, the President of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors for 2014 wrote an editorial piece that appeared in the January 17th issue of CASA Magazine regarding the Zoning Information Reports that is reprinted here with Ed’s permission.  Ed can be reached at 805.687.1551 or email at: Ed@SanRoqueRealty.com
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