MALIBU—According to the city of Malibu website, beginning July 1, when a property is sold that is located in a High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, which includes the entire city of Malibu, documentation is required showing the property passed a Defensible Space Inspection.
“Malibu is committed to doing everything possible to help residents be prepared for wildfire and to create conditions that will make the community more fire-safe, so I encourage every homeowner to make sure their property has defensible space,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti. “It is safer for you and your family, it protects your home and your community, it’s the right thing to do, and it is the law in California.”
The inspection is required under California’s AB-38, which was passed in 2021 to promote wildfire safety by requiring homes to have defensible space.
Defensible space is the safeguard created between any building on a property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), defensible space, coupled with home hardening, is vital to improving a property’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It helps reduce or stop the spread of wildfire, protects the home from catching fire from embers, direct flame contact or radiant heat. It also gives firefighters a safe area to in which to work while defending homes.
CAL FIRE’s Defensible Space Self-Assessment tool at https://www.fire.ca.gov/dspace will guide homeowners through the process. To request an inspection for AB-38 compliance, fill out the CAL FIRE form: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/e659f03a6e8447af8663e42cf48f60fd.
Homeowners should be aware that the property’s Assessor Parcel Number (APN) must be included with the Defensible Space Inspection Form (AB-38 DSI Request Form). The APN can be found on a property tax statement, or by searching for an address in the Los Angeles County Assessor website: https://portal.assessor.lacounty.gov/.
If the property does not pass the inspection, the inspector will give explanation as to what needs to be done to bring the property into compliance and will schedule another appointment. If the property fails to meet the requirements, the seller and the buyer can enter into a written agreement allowing the buyer to bring the property into compliance within one year after closing escrow. Once a property passes inspection, the inspection report must be submitted to the state within six months prior to entering a sales contract. For more details visit https://www.fire.ca.gov/dspace.