Residential Resale Inspections

NEW! Residential Resale Inspections are now required for properties in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) of the Town of Corte Madera and ANYWHERE in the City of Larkspur!

AB38 and "Resale" Inspections

Resale inpections are required by local ordinance in the City of Larkspur and Town of Corte Madera. These inspections meet the requirements set forth in 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 compliant 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.

What happens after I submit the form?

By completing this form, you will be submitting your request, and granting permission, for a 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. 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 - corrections are still required within 30 days. Failure to correct issues identified during any wildfire hazard inspection may result in abatement and liens.

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.

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.

Do I need a Resale Inspection?

All properties sold in the City of Larkspur, and any property sold in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) of the Town of Corte Madera must schedule a residential resale inspection. Check the map to see if your property is required to conduct a resale inspection (highlighted in red).

Inspection Criteria - ALL APPICANTS MUST READ!

The Residential Property Resale Inspection is an exterior inspection of the residence required to ensure compliance with state law and local ordinances. Violations found during a Resale Inspection MUST be corrected within 30 days.  

We do not require an appointment time to perform the inspection, as we do not enter the dwelling. Completing a Resale Inspection Application grants Fire Inspectors acccess to the exterior of the property for inspection purposes only.

Fire Inspectors will look for the following during the inspection:

  • Resale inspections will meet the criteria established by AB38.
  • All properties are required to meet the flammable vegetation clearance requirements of California Fire Code Sections 4907.2 & 4908, PRC 4291, and Ca Gov Code 51189.
  • Maintenance of “Defensible Space” for a distance of 30-150 feet (or to the property line) from all structures is required.  This includes clearance of all accumulated dead vegetation on the property.
  • Removal of all fire-hazardous vegetation within 30' structures, up to 150 feet when topographical or combustible vegetation types necessitate removal. Examples of fire-hazardous vegetation includes but is not limited to ALL dead vegetation, juniper, bamboo, pampas/jubata/fountain grasses, french and scotch broom.
  • Any tree limbs extending within 10 feet of a chimney outlet, or 6 feet from the roof, must be removed.
  • Trees adjacent to or overhanging a building must be completely free of dead wood. Tree limbs should be pruned away from buildings.
  • Address numbers must be plainly visible and legible from the road fronting the property.  Numbers must be at least 4 inches tall and a color that contrasts with their background (an address number painted on a curb is not acceptable).
  • Combustible vegetation must be cleared within 10 feet (horizontally) of roadways and/or driveways, and 15 feet of overhead clearance must be provided.
  • A spark arrestor of heavy wire mesh with openings between 3/8 and 1/2 inch is required on all chimneys.
  • Structural hardening features will be assessed, including vents, gutters, roofing, siding, and attachments.
  • Additional items may be required for compliance with state law or local ordinances related to wildfire hazards upon inspection.

Defensible Space

RESALE INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS

Fire Inspectors will be looking for the following items during the inspection:

  • All properties are required to meet the vegetation management requirements of California Fire Code Sections 4907.2 & 4908, and PRC 4291 and CA Gov Code 51189.
  • Maintenance of “Defensible Space” for a distance of 30-150 feet (or to the property line) from all structures is required. This includes clearance of all accumulated dead vegetation on the property.
  • Removal of all fire-hazardous vegetation within 30' structures, up to 150 feet when topographical or combustible vegetation types necessitate removal. Examples of fire-hazardous vegetation include, but are not limited to, juniper, Italian cypress/thuja (or similar) bamboo, pampas and fountain grasses, annual grasses, French and Scotch broom, immature acacia.
  • Removal of all dead vegetation, including twigs, leaf or needle litter, branches, dead shrubs, dead trees, dead or dry grasses, etc, within 100' of any structure.
  • Any tree limbs with foliage extending within 10 feet of a chimney outlet, or 6 feet from the roof, must be removed.
  • Trees within 100' (or up to 150' downslope from structures) must be limbed at least 6'-10' above the ground, or 1/3 the height of the tree.
  • Trees adjacent to or overhanging a building must be completely free of dead wood.
  • Address numbers must be plainly visible and legible from the road fronting the property. Numbers must be at least 4 inches tall and a color that contrasts with their background (an address number painted on a curb does not satisfy this requirement).
  • Combustible vegetation, live or dead, must be cleared within 10 feet (horizontally) of roadways and/or driveways.
  • 15 feet of overhead clearance must be provided over roadways or driveways, with no obstructions, for fire apparatus access.
  • Roadside public right-of-way fronting any portion of a parcel is the responsibility of the property owner, and must be maintained to the standards abaove.
  • A spark arrestor of heavy wire mesh with openings between 3/8 and 1/2 inch is required on all chimneys.
  • Additional items may be required for compliance with state law or local ordinances related to wildfire hazards upon inspection.

If you have questions regarding the resale inspection program/process, please contact the Central Marin Fire Authority Fire Prevention Bureau at (628) 600-9988.

Fire Station 13

Paradise Drive
5600 Paradise DR
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Fire Station 14

Corte Madera: Headquarters
342 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Fire Station 15

Downtown Larkspur
420 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA  94939

Fire Station 16

Greenbrae
15 Barry Way
Greenbrae, CA  94904

Business Phone: (415) 927-5077   |   Emergencies: Dial 9-1-1

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