Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Natural Hazards Disclosure Report?
Our Natural Hazards Disclosure Report provides seller and their brokers a convenient and cost effective way to satisfy their legal obligation to tell buyers if the property being sold lies within a mapped hazard zone. We generate the report by comparing the location of the parcel against hazard zone maps developed by federal, state and local agencies. Our report includes the six (6) required hazards that every seller must disclose on a statutory form called the Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement under Civil Code §1103 and additional information which sellers and their agents may use to satisfy other disclosure obligations under Civil Code §1102 et seq.
What is the law in California?
Civil Code §1103 requires sellers of residential property and their agents to provide prospective buyers with a "Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement" which identifies natural hazards affecting the property.
Required Disclosures Include:
- Special Flood Hazard Area
- Dam Inundation Area
- Very High Fire Area
- Wildland Fire Area
- Earthquake Fault Zone
- Seismic Hazard Zone
How can I tell If my property is in a Hazard Zone?
Most sellers and agents do not have the time or expertise to obtain updated versions of all the maps required to determine whether a parcel lies within a hazard zone. Open Hazards Group conducts a computerized search of relevant maps using the geo-coordinates of the parcel you specify. We maintain errors and omissions insurance to protect sellers and their agents who rely on our searches. You can obtain a free sample report, not covered by our insurance, to see whether your property lies within a hazard zone.
Who is responsible for providing the Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement to a Buyer?
The licensed agent for a residential seller (and if there is no agent, the seller) is legally required to disclose whether the property lies within a mapped hazard area. Any person who willfully or negligently fails to satisfy these disclosure obligations is liable for actual damages suffered by a buyer. Our Natural Hazards Disclosure Report is an inexpensive and reliable way to satisfy this obligation.
Who chooses the provider of the NHD report?
The provider for an NHD report is often specified in the real estate purchase agreement along with an allocation of that cost to the buyer or seller at closing. The seller is required to make disclosures, but the contract determines who pays for the report. If you are concerned about quality, service or cost of the report, choose the Open Hazards Group. Our reports are clear, accurate and fairly priced. We are not owned in whole or in part by any title company or broker. We are the independent, low-cost disclosure experts.
Why use Open Hazards Disclosures?
We are the premier provider of complete, low-cost Natural Hazard Disclosure Reports. Our reports are professional, easy to read and understand, and fully insured against errors and omissions.
What does each report include?
We offer complete disclosure reports with three major components in a single package for one price: (1) a complete natural hazard report that satisfies the requirements of §1103; (2) additional safety and environmental disclosures that satisfy some of the seller's broad disclosure requirements under §1102 et. seq.; and (3) a tax summary which satisfies the seller's disclosure obligations under §1102.6(b) and itemizes current assessments.
Shop carefully. Other disclosure reports may satisfy some but not all of these requirements. Some providers offer components for additional fees, without clearly identifying the requirements they may satisfy. Other disclosure reports may provide a tax package which summarizes readily available information on current assessments without providing the analysis required to satisfy a seller's disclosure obligations under §1102.6(b). We offer a complete report for one fair price.
Complete Disclosure Reports will include:
- Six Basic Statutory NHD Disclosures:
- FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area
- Dam Inundation Area
- Very High Fire Hazards Area
- Wildland Fire Area
- Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone
- Seismic Hazard Area
- Toxic Mold Information
- Commercial/Industrial Zoning
- Military Ordnance
- Airport Influence and Airport Proximity
- Expanded Natural Hazard Information Identified By Local Jurisdictions
- Color Reference Maps For All Identified Hazard Areas
- Summary of Current Taxes
- Summary of Levies under 1915 Bond Act and Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act
- Disclosures That Meet the Requirements of Civil Code §1102.6(b)
What are the Tax Disclosure Requirements?
Civil Code §1102.6(b) provides detailed disclosure requirements for property subject to a lien securing the levy of special taxes under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act or a lien assessment to secure bonds issued under the Improvement Bond Act of 1915.
California has over five thousand special tax levies under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act alone. Some pay for facilities that have been or may in the future be constructed and some pay for service districts. Some levies are fixed, some are subject to annual adjustments in a fixed amount and some are subject to annual adjustment based on an escalation formula, such as a price index, which cannot be predicted in advance. The current tax assessed by a Mello-Roos District may not provide a reliable guide to future assessments if a current levy is below the maximum currently allowed under the governing instruments. Sellers may satisfy their disclosure obligations by paying the fees to each levying entity for a disclosure notice or by relying on a report by a private entity. Our tax summary does not merely report on current assessments; it allows sellers to comply with the Mello-Roos and 1915 Bond Act disclosure requirements of §1102.6(b)
Note: Our tax report is constructed from the current assessment roll, supplemented by a database of Mello-Roos documents. It will not identify liens by Mello-Roos Districts or liens for contractual assessments under Streets and Highways Code §5898.24 where there is no current levy. The seller must make a good faith effort to determine whether these liens exist and to disclose them. Sellers and their agents typically rely on a title report for this purpose. If your title report shows the property is subject to any lien for which there is no current assessment you should contact the local agency to determine whether assessments will be levied in the future.
How long does it take to receive a report?
We start compiling a report the minute you order one. Often we're able to finish the report and email it out to you in as little as 15 minutes. In some cases, however, online databases require human intervention and we may need additional time additional time to correctly process and summarize information for your parcel where there is a problem with parcel definition, flood mapping, or obscure tax data.
What counties do you cover?
We handle NHD reports in California for every county except Trinity County.
How do I receive the report?
We start compiling the reports the minute you order them and email them out to whatever addresses you specify as soon as they're complete: often in as little as 15 minutes.
Are the reports E&O insured?
Absolutely! All of our reports are covered by a $1,000,000 policy. We include a certificate of liability insurance with every report. Feel free to contact us to request a copy of this certificate at any time.
What are my payment options?
You can either pay by credit card during the order process or send the invoice to your assigned escrow service. To pay by escrow, we require the contact information of your escrow agent and the escrow number.
Can I update escrow information?
Absolutely. Just email us the new information, and we'll update the records. If you want or need a new copy of the report, we'll send you one as well.