Opinion: What Don’t You Know About Your Home?
The Importance of Purchase And Rental Agreement Disclosures
The purpose of property disclosures is to outline any flaws or conditions, including city and homeowners association (HOA) land use restrictions, that the home sellers are aware of that could negatively affect the homebuyer’s decision to purchase or rent the property. Thus it is important that they be read and understood.
Irvine is an integrated multi-cultural and multi-lingual city with many residents whose primary language is not English. Escrow documents and purchase and rental agreements are not necessarily easy to comprehend for English speaking residents, let alone non-English speakers.
Written disclosures should be presented to purchasers and renters in their primary language and they should also be verbally presented and discussed to ensure that the disclosures are understood.
Standard disclosures for Irvine residents should include:
- Standard Property Taxes and Special Taxes
Mello Roos and Community Facilities District (CFD) taxes and other standard expenses such as homeowners association (HOA) dues must be provided and explained in the buyer’s primary language and should be reinforced by including effective period of the tax, future rate increases, and payment frequency.
- School District Assignment
Many families move to Irvine specifically for the purpose of having their children attend a school in the Irvine Unified School District and do not realize that Irvine housing can also be zoned for schools located in the Tustin Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, and the Saddleback Valley Unified School District.
- Great Park Neighborhoods
The Great Park Neighborhoods (GPN) village is located on what once was known as the El Toro Marine Base. Buyers and renters of GPN residences should receive disclosures that the property had, and still has, significant land and ground water contamination. Residents should be informed of the fact that the U.S. Navy is responsible for decontamination of all the property that was located on the El Toro Marine Base before transferring control of the property, some of which is transferred with land use restrictions.
Residents should also be informed of the fact that the Navy does not clean up contamination to habitable standards, leaving the developer responsible for continuing the contamination cleanup process in order to reach habitable standards.
Has the developer FivePoint sufficiently removed the contamination to habitable standards?
Reading about the impact residual contamination has had on the residents of the Hunter’s Point development, which was previously a military base and developed by FivePoint, gives rise to the question as to whether or not the hazardous waste cleanup reports provided by the Great Park developer can be trusted.
CBS News in San Francisco reported, “the suit, filed in 2018, alleged landowner Lennar and developer Five Point Holdings developed and sold about 350 homes at the site for about $1 million each, but kept homeowners in the dark about toxic radiation in the soil.”
- Public Health and Safety
Potential buyers and renters should be made aware of all health and safety hazards that impact Irvine properties. This may include past, current, and potential exposure to pollutants from air, ground, and water sources. The disclosures should also contain information about past and current decontamination procedures on or near the property in question.
- All American Asphalt
Many residents living in close proximity to the All American Asphalt factory have long complained about the impact that they are suffering from chemical emissions from the factory. This fact should be noted in real property disclosures regarding the sale or rental of residences located in the impacted areas.
- Land and Property Use Regulations and Restrictions
Restrictions enforced by city code enforcement or by a homeowners associations (HOA) should be made clear. Property purchasers and renters differ in their opinions about the control that HOAs have over their use of their property.