A previous version of this article identified a different department responsible for the update. This has been corrected.

The Environmental Hazards Booklet provided to California homebuyers will soon be updated by the Department of Toxic Substances Control to include additional hazards common in California. The seller or a broker involved voluntarily delivers the guide to the buyer, but there is no legal mandate to do so. [Calif. Civil Code §2079.7; See RPI Form 316-1]

Presently, the booklet discusses the significance of hazardous materials and conditions, and tips for identifying, locating and mitigating the hazards, as well as the symptoms experienced by humans resulting from the hazards.

The booklet, titled Residential Environmental Hazards: A Guide for Homeowners, Homebuyers, Landlords and Tenants, is not a disclosure of detrimental environmental conditions which exist on the particular property a buyer is interested in acquiring. Rather, the booklet contains general information on a variety of environmental hazards, none of which might physically exist on or around the property of interest to the buyer.

However, it is always to the benefit of the brokers as a risk management policy, to deliver the booklet to the prospective homebuyer along with the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). For the seller’s broker, always deliver the booklet and TDS before the seller accepts a buyer’s offer as anything less is malpractice.

Further, the delivery of the booklet is incentivized. Delivery relieves the brokers from the duty to provide additional information regarding potential environmental hazards affecting the property other than listing them in the TDS and by separate information about lead-based paint in a home built before 1978. [CC §2079.7; see RPI Form 316-1]

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Topics covered in the Environmental Hazards Booklet

A new law requires the booklet to be updated to include sections on:

  • wildfires;
  • climate change; and
  • sea level rise. [CC §10084.2(a)]

Currently, topics covered include common environmental hazards like:

  • asbestos;
  • radon;
  • lead-based paint;
  • formaldehyde;
  • fuel and chemical storage tanks;
  • water and soil contamination.

Soon, these hazards will be joined by the broader environmental hazards linked to climate change, which continue to have a greater impact on California homeowners each year.

While there is no timeline for the new booklet to be released, the new law requires the booklet update to occur “as soon as existing or private resources become available.” Stay tuned to your firsttuesday newsletter, Quilix, for its release.

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Nine-in-ten homebuyers weigh climate risks when choosing a home