DEFENSIBLE SPACE INSPECTIONS - ASSEMBLY BILL 38 (AB-38)
AB-38 Defensible Space Inspections and Compliance Reports for Real Estate Transactions in High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.
Assembly Bill 38 (2019) established that, as of July 1, 2021, California Civil Code Section 1102.19 requires a seller of real property located in a High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) to provide the buyer with documentation the property is in compliance with defensible space requirements.
The law allows, that if documentation demonstrating compliance cannot be obtained by the close of escrow, the seller and buyer can enter into a written agreement showing that the buyer agrees to obtain documentation of compliance within one year of the close of escrow.
Read CIV 1102.19
How do I determine if the property is in Fire Hazard Severity Zone subject to AB38?
If the property is within the SRA, an AB38 inspection is required in both High and Very High FHSZ. If the property is within the LRA, an AB38 inspection is required in the Very High FHSZ.
You can use the Fire Hazard Severity Zone map to locate your property and determine which zone your home is in (click on the binoculars icon to enter the address)
- Calfire FHSZ Viewer: https://egis.fire.ca.gov/FHSZ
(If your property is within an orange, pink, or red area, an AB38 inspection is required.)
If your property is not located in High or Very High FHSZ, STOP. You are not subject to the requirements of AB-38.
Prior to requesting an AB38 Defensible Space Inspection, please verify that the property is located within the jurisdictional responsibility of the Ventura County Fire Department.
The Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) is responsible for inspections of properties in the cities of Camarillo, Moorpark, Ojai, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and the unincorporated area of Ventura County.
If your property is not within the jurisdictional boundaries of VCFD, STOP. Do NOT complete the AB-38 DSI Request Form.
What are the Defensible Space requirements?
Defensible space is required by state law and regulation for all properties located within a FHSZ and, in Ventura County, by local vegetation management ordinance. Note: VCFD ordinance is more restrictive than state law.
Applicable state laws and regulations (PRC, GC, Title 14 & 19) are in the Links area above. Additional information regarding defensible space is located on the FHRP page.
Assessor Parcel Number:
You will need your Ventura County Assessor Parcel Number (APN) to complete the AB38 DSI request form. If you do not know the APN, please check your property tax statement, or the Assessors site at: https://assessor.countyofventura.org/research/propertyinfo.asp
How do I request an AB-38 DSI?
To request a DSI for AB-38 compliance, please complete the AB-38 DSI Request Form
What is a DSI Compliance Report?
A copy of the completed compliance inspection report that shows proof the property has been inspected and has passed that inspection, within six (6) months prior to entering a sales contract. Note: a DSI can be requested while in escrow if no DSI has been previously conducted within the 6-month period.
When will the DSI take place?
Once a completed AB-38 DSI request form has been submitted, a Fire Department Inspector will contact the requestor normally within 2 to 3 business days to make the DSI appointment. DSI are normally conducted during regular business hours 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and can take 7 to 10 days from the request date to conduct.
What happens if the property does not pass the inspection?
A deficiency report will be issued indicating the items to be corrected to pass the DSI. If the seller is unable to complete the corrections and obtain a compliance report prior to close of escrow, the law provides that the seller and buyer shall enter into a written agreement whereby the buyer agrees to obtain the compliance.
VCFD Fire Hazard Reduction Program:
Property owners included in the VCFD Fire Hazard Reduction Program (FHRP) will receive a Notice to Abate Fire Hazard each year regardless of any prior AB-38 DSI compliance report. These notices are normally mailed April 20th each year with a June 1st clearance deadline. See the FHRP page for more information.
Note: An inspection approval under the FHRP program can be used to meet AB38 DSI requirements if the approval was within 6-months of the date the seller enters into a sale contract. Fire department staff will screen any AB38 DSI requests to determine if a prior FHRP approved inspection has been conducted and will use that date for the AB38 DSI Compliance Report. A new DSI will not be conducted unless specifically requested by the seller.