Governor Jerry Brown signed into law last week a bill that will help in the enforcement of local ordinances and ensure important disclosure in real estate transfers.
For decades, local governments have recorded Notices of Violation (NOVs) in the county recorder’s office for violations of building, zoning, grading, and environmental health ordinances. However, a recent unpublished court case calls into question the authority of counties and cities to record NOVs based on local ordinances.
Authored by Assemblyman Rich Gordon (Menlo Park), Assembly Bill 1642 explicitly allows all NOVs, including those related to unpermitted garages, decks, or other structures on a property, or updates done without proper building permits, to be recorded by the county recorder.
"Unpermitted facilities are a major safety concern," said Assemblyman Gordon, who serves on the Assembly Local Government Committee. "Without the recordation of NOVs, current and future property owners have no way of knowing when there are existing code violations on a property."
By recording NOVs, the notice is attached to the title of property and can be found when doing a search on the title at the local county assessor/recorder’s office. NOVs can affect home lending and refinancing, and may be part of the overall decision-making process for potential homebuyers, as risk and safety concerns associated with the property become known.
"AB 1642 ends any uncertainty about whether cities or counties may record NOVs for violation of a local ordinance relating to real property," said Elizabeth Pianca, Deputy County Counsel for Santa Clara County. "AB 1642 also serves as a consumer protection measure by placing potential purchasers and lenders on notice of a code violation."
The bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support and with no dissenting votes.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon represents the 21st Assembly District.