Property owners, real estate agents and residential building developers are debating the merits of a new requirement to install solar panels on most residential properties. The California Energy Commission has adopted the new building standards, which would require solar panels on all new residential homes and low-rise condos and townhouses by 2020.
The Orange County Register recently argued the regulations were a good thing, saying energy savings would more than make up for the increased cost of construction. The California Building Industry Association estimates the changes will add an estimated $8,400 to $12,400 to the cost of building a home. The energy commission estimates $19,000 in energy savings over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
Regulatory Compliance Legal Help in Orange County
An Orange County real estate attorney is frequently called to handle regulatory compliance issues. In many cases, we are called after a federal, state or local regulatory body alleges non-compliance. In today’s regulatory environment, property owners and developers are best served by contacting an experienced law firm at the earliest stages of a project. Focusing on compliance issues from the outset can reduce the high costs and long delays often associated with being targeted by governmental bureaucracy.
The new energy-efficiency regulations are on track for final passage by next summer, with compliance mandated for new residential projects that receive building permits after Jan. 1, 2020. Expedited permitting for projects slated to break ground over the next 24 months may be one option for developers looking to save the costs associated with compliance, as well as costs and delays associated with reworking site development plans.
In addition to the requirement for solar panels, the new measure also requires better insulation, more energy-efficient windows, and more energy-efficient water heaters and appliances. The building industry notes the additional costs of compliance come in the wake of $8,500 worth of energy improvements already mandated for new homes in recent years.
Presently, about 15,000 new homes are built with solar panels each year, while about 135,000 existing homes are upgraded with solar technology. The new measure aims to boost the total to 235,000 a year, including more than 100,000 new homes.
Real Estate Legal Help for Compliance Issues
A real estate attorney often hears clients who profess to have been unaware of regulations they are accused of violating. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a defense under the law. Zoning and code enforcement issues are common causes of action. But California’s regulatory environment and record real-estate costs make experienced legal help critical to any successful real estate deal.
Failure to maintain regulatory compliance can result in real estate disputes and delay or even scuttle a deal and could leave you liable for costs even after closing a transaction. Purchase and sales litigation also commonly involve regulatory issues. Understanding all of the local, state and federal mandates is almost impossible, even for the most active investor. Attorney Dan Carlton of the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton can help guide you through the process.