Santa Cruz County Homeowners: Major Changes Ahead for Selling with Septic Systems After July 1st

Santa Cruz County Homeowners: Major Changes Ahead for Selling with Septic Systems After July 1st

  • Liz Kroft
  • 05/22/23
If you or someone you know owns a home with a septic system in Santa Cruz County there is an important new ordinance coming this summer.
Effective July 1st there will be a point of sale requirement whereby a home must have its septic system inspected prior to the sale. Issues or failures identified by county review must be repaired if possible or else a new system will be required.
Last fall the Board of Supervisors approved changes to the Santa Cruz County septic system ordinance to bring the county into compliance with state and local regulations. You may have heard this called LAMP or Local Area Management Program.
These regulations aim to protect our groundwater, rivers, streams and oceans from contamination from failing systems. The new ordinance also aims to protect homebuyers from unknown and potentially costly issues.
Beginning July 1st sellers of homes with septic systems must have them pumped and inspected by a county-approved septic company prior to the sale. There will also be changes to how these inspections are conducted. The seller holds responsibility for any county-required repairs, unless the buyer and seller mutually agree to transfer the responsibility to the buyer in which case a buyer will have 90 days to initiate corrections.
In addition, a seller must provide the buyer a standard disclosure form detailing septic information along with any active annual service agreement documents.

The Bottom 🍑 Line

Currently it is unknown how many approved septic providers there will ultimately be in the county once the ordinance goes into effect July 1st. We also do not know what the county's exact review and approval process will be. These considerations along with the time to obtain permits where necessary and complete required work could mean selling a home with septic could take longer and cost more than usual. For example, if a system has failed and an engineered septic system is required this could cost up to $80,000.
If you or someone you know is planning to sell a home with septic in the future this could be an important consideration in regards to timing and potential cost.
More details to come as we get closer to the implementation... 💩

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