New law requiring home inspectors to inspect for pool safety
If you haven’t heard of it yet, you can expect to hear about SB 422 the next time you’re looking to buy a home in Santa Clarita. The good news is that the new law isn’t making huge changes. Instead, it’s mostly aimed at keeping homebuyers informed about relevant swimming pool safety features. The brunt of this task will fall onto Santa Clarita home inspectors.
California SB 422 – what home buyers need to know & what the Law Is About
SB 422 addresses two main things, one major and one minor. Let’s start with the minor. The law essentially prohibits home inspectors from taking on a job when they or their employers have a financial interest. So, for example, say you plan to use a specific contractor after you buy a house.
If that general contractor offers home inspections as a service, his inspectors can’t do the home inspection. You need a third-party inspector.
The more major part of the law is that, if you’re buying a home with a swimming pool or a spa, the home inspector must look for certain safety features. The law sets out 7 potential features:
- An enclosure that keeps the pool isolated from the home.
- Mesh fencing with a self-closing, self-latching gate. The gate must be lockable, such as with a keyed padlock for example.
- Safety pool cover
- Doors that offer pool or spa access need an alarm.
- Doors that offer access to the pool or spa need a device that self-closes and self-latches. The release must be at least 54 inches off the floor.
- Alarm in pool or spa that goes off when someone gets into the water.
- Other safety measures that meeting ASTM or ASME standards.
If the inspector doesn’t find at least two of these features, he must include that information in the inspection and inform the homebuyer.
Why Does this Matter?
Current safety regulations require new or renovated pools to have at least two, but preferably more, of these safety features. The main goal is the prevention of accidental drowning and injury of children. The catch is that there are still a lot of pools left over from before the regulations went into effect. Those pools may lack some or all of the safety features listed above.
As a homebuyer/homeowner, you become liable if someone drowns or is injured in your pool. While you may not be required to add safety features to an old pool, it’s a good move to limit your potential liability. Including information about swimming pool safety features in the home inspection lets you make a more informed decision.
What Should You Do?
In theory, it’s on the home inspector to include everything that’s required. In practice, inspectors miss things when the law changes suddenly like it has here. The best thing you can do is make a point to ask them about the pool safety features before they start. That helps bring the issue front and center in their minds.
Things to Bear in Mind with SB 422
The home inspector is looking for the presence of these safety features, but not necessarily testing how functional they are. Similarly, your Santa Clarita home inspectors aren’t necessarily looking at the functionality of the pool itself. Don’t take it for granted that the pool, spa, or their safety features will work properly.
The Takeaway for Homebuyers
The new law mostly affects what home inspectors look for and put in their home inspection report. It’s a good idea for you to make sure they get that pool safety information into the report. If your pool doesn’t have at least two safety features, it increases the odds of accidental injury or drowning. You can use that information to make an informed decision about what, if any, additional safety features to add when you buy the house.
Share this Post