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May 4, 2010

Live/Work Homes Exempt from Energy/Water Requirements

When you sell a home in San Francisco—whether it’s a house, condo, TIC or multi-unit property—you’re required to ensure that the property meets energy and water conservation requirements. This usually entails an energy/water inspector evaluating the property and then addressing the items that need to be done in order to bring the place up to code.

Energy requirements include things like weatherstripping, water heaters being strapped and braced properly, and insulation being installed in the proper places. And the water requirements encompass low-flow toilets/faucets and repairing leaks (among other things).

But now, some properties may be exempt from energy/water work. This just in from the San Francisco Association of Realtors:

“Residential live work occupancies (defined as an R-2/B-2 occupancy classification under the San Francisco Building Code) are exempt from Residential Energy and Water Conservation Requirements set forth in Chapters 12 and 12A of the San Francisco Housing Code, according to the Department of Building Inspection. Patrick Mckenzie, senior housing inspector, explains:

‘Section 1204 (i) and 12A04 (c), for purposes of the San Francisco Housing Code (SFHC), does not define a Live Work occupancy as a Residential Building that must comply with Energy and Water Conservation requirements. ‘It is the responsibility of the seller of a residential building to determine if the building is a live work occupancy that is exempt from energy and water conservation requirements. The authorized agent of the seller may help in this determination.

Since live work occupancies are not subject to the provisions of the San Francisco Housing Code, there is no requirement that an energy and/or water conservation inspection report be filed with the Department of Building Inspection, Housing Inspection Services.

To determine if a building is a live work occupancy, please review the existing authorized occupancy or use as stated on the 3R Report (Report of Residential Building Record). Section 351 (a) of the SFHC requires that prior to the consummation of sale or exchange of a residential building this 3R Report be delivered by the owner or their authorized agent to the buyer.'”

So there you have it. Sellers, if you own a live/work space, make sure you verify the property zoning on the building permit history. And buyers, do the same. Everyone should be on the same page about water/energy conservation requirements.

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