There are a number of California statutes requiring sellers to deal with health and safety measures such as smoke detectors and water heater strapping.

This note is only concerned with ordinances enacted by incorporated cities and towns, requiring sellers to comply prior to close of escrow, with notice to buyers. Our focus here is only on the Counties of San Francisco and Marin.


The City requires sellers to provide buyers with a permit history, known as the Report of Residential Building Record, or 3R. As of this writing the cost for the report is $148, and the turn around time is approximately two weeks.

Sellers are also required to have an energy conservation inspection and a water conservation inspection. If "the energy" was previously performed (this is noted on the 3R report), it need not be done again. However, the water conservation inspection must be performed every time the home is resold. Details are addressed in the Energy and water conservation booklet.

While sellers are not required to remove any oil storage tanks under the home or the sidewalk, they are required to advise buyers if they exist. The only company I have ever used is Golden Gate Tank Removal. If an inspection was previously performed, a copy of the prior inspection will be provided for a stated fee.


As of this writing ten of Marin's eleven incorporated communities (cities and towns) require a physical inspection of the property, and preparation of a permit history. Corte Madera does not require an inspection. While the processes are similar it could take weeks from date of application to receipt of the public report. Buyers must provide written proof of receipt of the report. In general the parties may negotiate repair of the deficiencies. The fee for inspections/reports varies from $113 in Sausalito to $300 in Belvedere. Repairs also vary, from trip hazards to replacement of all or significant portions of the sewer lateral [Sausalito, Belvedere].

Corte Madera

Mill Valley

San Anselmo
San Rafael


Permit me to add this disclaimer: local ordinances are like the shifting sands of the Sahara and may change or disappear or arise anew. So check with the closest city/town to determine, by address, whether your home is exempt - because it is in Strawberry, Civic Center, Greenbrae, etc.


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