This article was originally published
in the December 19, 2000 issue, Guest Column, Page 2,
of the REALTOR® REPORT, an official publication of
the Southland Regional Association of Realtors®, serving
the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valley.
For reprints and/or other information, they may be contacted
at their main office:
Association of Realtors®
7232 Balboa Boulevard Van Nuys CA 91406
Tel: (818) 786-2110
Fax: (818) 786-4541 Email: srar.com
|On Replacing Toilets
||By HERB LAMBERT
There is much confusion
about what a Seller is required to do to comply with
both the L.A. City ordinance and the terms of the
C.A.R. Residential Purchase Agreement when it comes
to replacing existing toilets with the required
low-flow toilets. I hope this article helps clear up
Frequently, disputes arise over this matter when the
existing toilets are of a higher quality and expense
than the standard replacements. The pre-printed
portion of the Purchase Agreement is very clear about
what is required of the Seller:
Page 2; Paragraph 4F, states
"Seller shall pay the cost of compliance with
any other minimum mandatory government retrofit
standards... if required as a condition of closing
escrow under any law."
Page 4; Paragraph 10, states "...Repairs
shall be performed in a skillful manner with
materials of quality and appearance comparable to
Page 7; Paragraph 26H, states "'Repairs'
means any repairs, alterations, replacements,
modifications and retrofitting of the property
provided for under this agreement."
Based on the above clauses,
if a house contains four deluxe toilets that do not
comply with the "Low-Flow" Ordinance, and
the replacement cost of "like quality"
toilets would be $400.00 each, then the Seller would
be responsible for bearing that entire expense.
While a Seller could comply with the law by
installing inexpensive toilets, they would not be
in compliance with the Purchase Agreement.
Agents should be careful to discuss this issue with
their clients long before the retrofit is done. If a
Seller wants to avoid the expense of replacing deluxe
toilets, then a counter offer should be prepared to
limit that expense. Buyer's agents should also
consider raising the issue in advance in order to
avoid a dispute later on.
While a Buyer and Seller cannot agree to break the
law regarding retrofitting, they can negotiate
about who pays for what, and the limits of those
expenses, provided the required retrofits are
completed prior to the close of escrow.
Herb Lambert is a REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®
serving on the Board of Directors in 2001.
He is a mediator, and has extensive experience
with the SRAR Professional Standards Committees.
The opinions expressed are those of the author
and should not be considered association recommendations