For the prior video feature in this series covering manifestations of seismic hazards, click here.

The NHD – transparency by design

Whether a seller lists the property with a broker or markets the property themselves, the seller is to disclose to prospective buyers any natural hazards known to them, including those contained in public records.

The seller and seller’s agent prepare the statutory Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) Statement to disclose their awareness of natural hazards. Alternatively, the NHD form can be prepared by a natural hazard expert, then verified and used by the seller and their agent. [See RPI Form 314]

The form is to include information known to the seller and seller’s agent (and the NHD expert) and readily available to them as shown on maps in the public records of the local planning department. [Calif. Civil Code §1103.2; see RPI Form 314]

Actual use of the NHD Statement by sellers and their agents is mandated on the sale of all types of properties, with some sellers (but not agents) being excluded. While some sellers need not use the form when making the NHD disclosures, agents are never excluded. Thus, the form, filled out and signed by the seller (unless excluded) and the seller’s agent (never excluded), is included in marketing packages handed to prospective buyers seeking additional information on every type of property.

Editor’s note — Any attempt by a seller or seller’s agent to use an “as-is” provision or otherwise provide for the buyer to agree to waive their right to receive the seller’s NHD statement is void as against public policy. [CC §1103(d)]

However, sellers who are excluded from using the form still need to make the disclosures referenced in the NHD. Use of the NHD form to make property disclosures is not required on:

  • court-ordered transfers or sales;
  • deed-in-lieu of foreclosures;
  • trustee’s sales;
  • lender resales after foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu;
  • estates on death;
  • transfers between co-owners;
  • transfers to relatives/spouses; or
  • transfers to or by governmental entities. [CC §1103.1(a)]