Chapter 12.22


12.22.010    Purpose.

12.22.020    Findings.

12.22.030    Definitions.

12.22.040    Nonapplicability.

12.22.050    Exemptions.

12.22.060    Certification of completion.

12.22.070    Energy conservation requirements.

12.22.080    Notification.

12.22.090    Violations.

12.22.100    Appeals.

12.22.110    Enforcement penalties, remedies and procedures for violations.

12.22.010 Purpose.

(A)    The purpose and intent of this chapter is to establish standards which promote the wise and efficient use of energy in existing, multifamily residential structures by requiring installation of cost-effective weatherization techniques in connection with all title transfers of residential buildings of four or more units.

(B)    It is an additional purpose of this chapter to encourage and assist voluntary compliance with the objectives of this chapter. [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.020 Findings.

(A)    Electrical and natural gas energy used to heat residential structures is essential to the health, safety, and welfare of the community. Since the 1973 oil crisis, the United States has faced rising prices and uncertain supplies of energy. This uncertainty results in an increasing economic burden on the citizens of Santa Cruz County. Most of the existing residential structures in Santa Cruz County were constructed during a period when energy supplies were both inexpensive and abundant. The majority of these structures, therefore, have inefficient heating systems, and do not use energy conserving technologies.

(B)    Multifamily residential rental properties of four units or more constitute a clear and definable portion of the total housing stock of Santa Cruz County.

(C)    Homeowners can reduce their utility costs by weatherizing their homes and reducing energy requirements. Since owners of rental properties frequently do not pay for utilities, they do not experience the same economic incentives to weatherize their buildings. Tenants are reluctant to invest in weatherization improvements as they may not live in the building long enough to recover the cost of the improvements through utility savings.

(D)    Local action to promote energy conservation through the application of appropriate energy conservation standards to existing multifamily rental properties can address this serious problem. Conservation of energy in this manner will result in decreased energy use in multi-family buildings and lower energy bills for landlords and tenants. Energy conservation also diminishes the threat to the health and welfare of residents posed by energy shortages and by pollution or hazards from additional energy generating facilities. Energy conservation technologies exist which are cost-effective and essentially simple to install.

(E)    The Santa Cruz County Code does not presently address energy conservation in existing residential structures. Amendment of the Code to establish energy conservation standards at the time of resale is, therefore, necessary to protect the economic and social well-being, and the health and safety of the occupants of housing within Santa Cruz County. [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.030 Definitions.

“Accessible” means that there is sufficient space in which to install the specified weatherization measure without significant structural alteration. In the case of attics, “accessible” shall mean a space between a ceiling joist and roof rafter where the vertical clear height from the top of the bottom chord of the truss or ceiling joist to the underside of the roof sheathing at the roof ridge is greater than 30 inches.

Cost-Effective. A conservation measure is considered “cost-effective” if the savings it produces for the customer during its useful life exceed the cost of the measure to the customer.

“Energy Inspector” means the person authorized by the County to certify that the energy conservation requirements specified in this chapter have been installed. Persons qualifying as energy inspectors include, but are not limited to, Pacific Gas and Electric auditors, and authorized State licensed contractors. The authorization of energy inspectors shall be accomplished by completion of a form submitted to the Planning Department and signed by the Energy Inspector.

“Energy conservation certificate of completion” means a standard form certifying compliance with the energy conservation requirements specified in SCCC 12.22.070. The form includes the name or names of the owners of the property for which it is applicable, the street address, Assessor’s parcel number, if available, or if not available, a legal description of the real property, together with a legend after the title of the certificate:

NOTICE TO OWNER: This certificate is valuable since it indicates the completion of installation of certain energy conservation devices on your residential property which are prescribed by law. This is a recordable document, you may want to keep a copy with your own records pertaining to this property.

“Feasible” means capable of being accomplished in a successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into account economic, environmental, social, and technological factors.

“Multifamily building” means any privately owned residential rental building, or portion thereof, which contains four units or more, and has a heating system; including apartments, flats, and all condominium conversions (as defined in Chapter 14.08 SCCC), but not including residential dwellings of less than four units, mobilehomes or hotels, motels or inns whose primary purpose is to provide occupancy for less than 30 days.

“Transfer of title” means the conveyance of title to real property by deed or other instrument including conveyance by a real property sales contract as defined in Section 2985 of the California Civil Code. Any transfer of title made prior to the effective date of this chapter is not subject to the requirements of this chapter. [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.040 Nonapplicability.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to real property for which an energy conversation “certificate of completion” has been recorded. [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.050 Exemptions.

(A)    The following transfers shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

(1)    Transfers pursuant to court order, including, but not limited to, transfers ordered by a probate court in administration of an estate, other than the sale of a multi-family building; transfers pursuant to a writ of execution; transfers by a trustee in bankruptcy; transfers by eminent domain; or transfers resulting from a decree for specific performance.

(2)    Transfers to a mortgagee by reason of the mortgagor defaulting; transfers to a beneficiary of a deed trust by reason of a trustor defaulting.

(3)    Transfers, other than sales, by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a guardianship, conservatorship, or trust.

(4)    Transfers from one co-owner to one or more co-owners.

(5)    Transfers made to a spouse, or to a person or persons in the lineal consanguinity of one or more of the transferrers.

(6)    Transfers between spouses resulting from a decree of dissolution of a marriage or a decree of legal separation or from a property settlement agreement incidental to such decrees.

(7)    Transfers by the State Controller in the course of administering the Unclaimed Property Law, Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 1500) of Title 10 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(8)    Transfers under the provisions of Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3691) and Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 3771) of Part 6 of Division 1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

(9)    Transfers resulting by operation of law.

(10)    Transfers by which title to real property is reconveyed pursuant to a deed of trust.

(B)    Failure to comply with provisions of this chapter will not prevent recordation of any legally recordable document or invalidate any transfer of title. [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.060 Certification of completion.

(A)    On and after the operative date of this chapter, the energy conservation requirements Specified in SCCC 12.22.070 shall be installed in connection with each transfer of title to every multifamily building located in the unincorporated portion of Santa Cruz County unless the provisions of this chapter are made inapplicable by SCCC 12.22.040, or unless the transfer is made exempt from the provisions of this chapter by SCCC 12.22.050.

(B)    Compliance. Compliance with this chapter shall be fulfilled by installation of the energy conservation requirements specified in SCCC 12.22.070 prior to, or within six months after, the transfer of title of any multi-family building, as evidenced by recordation of an energy conservation “certificate of completion” with the County Recorder. The “certificate of completion” shall consist of a certification by an authorized Energy Inspector that all the energy conservation requirements specified in SCCC 12.22.070 have been met. The “certificate of completion” must be signed by the Energy Inspector and shall be submitted to the Planning Director for signature before recordation. “Certificate of completion” forms shall be available from the Planning Department.

(C)    Recordation. Recordation of a properly signed “certificate of completion” shall indicate that the requirements of this chapter have been met and shall evidence compliance for subsequent title transfers. When recorded, an energy conservation “certificate of completion” shall include the legal description of the property, the owner’s name, and the Assessor’s parcel number, so that it may be indexed by the County Recorder.

(D)    Disclosure. Landlords shall give 30 days’ notice to the tenants of any building which the landlord intends to bring into compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The notice shall include his/her intent to weatherize the building and the potential for changed utility costs.

(E)    Expenditure Limitation. The maximum required expenditure to bring a structure into compliance with the provisions of this chapter shall be $1,000 per unit. The maximum expenditure shall be documented by receipts which must be submitted with the “certificate of completion.” [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.070 Energy conservation requirements.

(A)    Ceiling Insulation. Ceiling insulation shall be installed to a minimum resistance level of R-19 over accessible attic space directly above conditioned space; provided, that the existing ceiling insulation is less than R-11. Before insulation is installed in multifamily buildings which do not meet the requirement of this section, dropped spaces in attic floors, such as those above stairwells, shall be sealed to effectively limit air infiltration.

(B)    Weatherstripping. All doors, including attic access doors, and all windows which lead to the outside, unheated or uncooled areas, shall be weatherstripped so as to effectively limit air infiltration.

(C)    Water Heater Insulation Blankets. All accessible water heaters shall be equipped with an external, commercially available water heater insulation blanket or equivalent insulation material with minimum installed thermal resistance of R-6.

(D)    Low-Flow Devices. Low-flow showerheads or in-line flow restrictors shall be fitted on all shower fixtures to assure a maximum flow rate of 2.75 gallons per minute. Replacement of existing low flow devices shall be required when their effective flow rate is 3.0 gallons per minute, or greater.

(E)    Infiltration. Caulking or sealing of all major cracks and joints and other openings in building exterior to reduce the loss of heated air or the entry of outside air including the sealing of electrical outlets and plates shall be required where accessible. All major openings from the heated space into the attic, including, but not limited to, those found around plumbing vent pipes, electrical wiring, or furnace fuel pipes shall be sealed.

(F)    Ducts, Plenums, and Fitting Joints. All accessible transverse ducts, plenums, and fitting joints of all heating equipment in unheated areas such as attics, crawl spaces, garages and basements shall be insulated to the equivalent of two-inch thick, 0.65 pounds per square foot density fibrous glass insulation. All duct and plenum joints shall be sealed with pressure sensitive tape or mastic. [Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.080 Notification.

(A)    The County shall develop and maintain a master list of multifamily buildings in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County. The master list shall contain the following information:

(1)    Parcel number;

(2)    Property owner;

(3)    Address of the property;

(4)    Address of the property owner;

(5)    Status of compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(B)    Ninety days before the operative date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the County shall, by certified mail, send a notice to all owners of multifamily buildings listed on the master list, informing them of the requirements of this chapter. A notice sent to the owner at the address shown on the Assessor’s records shall satisfy the requirements of this subsection.

(C)    Upon the operative date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the County shall cause to be recorded a notice stating the requirements of this chapter and referencing those properties for which no “certificate of completion” has been recorded. [Ord. 3465 § 1, 1983; Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.090 Violations.

(A)    Actions Constituting Violation. It shall be a violation of this chapter and a misdemeanor for any person to do any of the following:

(1)    To sell or offer to sell any multifamily building subject to the provisions of this chapter without full disclosure of the provisions of this chapter.

(2)    To refuse or neglect to install the basic energy conservation requirements specified in SCCC 12.22.070 after six months from the transfer of title of any multifamily building.

(3)    To evict any tenant in retaliation for the exercise by such tenant of any rights created by this chapter.

(B)    Actions by Utilities Not Constituting Violations. No utility or representative of a utility shall be in violation of this chapter, or liable under this chapter, for any act done in the performance of an energy audit or other acts done in the course of providing utility services. [Ord. 4389A § 9, 1996; Ord. 4389 § 11, 1995; Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.100 Appeals.

All appeals of actions taken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be made in conformance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 18.10 SCCC; provided, however, that code enforcement actions and decisions are not subject to administrative appeal except for appeals of revocation of permits pursuant to SCCC 18.10.136(C). [Ord. 4389A § 10, 1996; Ord. 4389 § 12, 1995; Ord. 3371 § 1, 1983].

12.22.110 Enforcement penalties, remedies and procedures for violations.

(A)    Recording Notice of Violation. One year after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, and every six months thereafter, the County Recorder shall notify the Board of Supervisors of any multifamily buildings where the title has been transferred and a “certificate of compliance” has not been recorded according to the provisions of this chapter. The Board of Supervisors shall record a notice of violation with the County Recorder on the title of properties in violation. The owner of record of the property in violation shall be notified of the recordation.

(B)    Civil Action. A civil action may be brought by a renter or other injured party to obtain damages and/or enjoin compliance with the requirements and standards of this chapter. Parties who are adversely affected by non-compliance with this chapter may recover all damages resulting from noncompliance from the owner of the noncomplying multifamily building. These damages include the cost of bills for higher energy consumption than would have occurred if the unit had been in compliance with this chapter, and the cost of attorney’s fees and inspection fees. No violation of the terms of this chapter, or civil liability based on this chapter shall ensue from the performance of an energy audit by a utility, or representative of a utility, that offers an energy audit service for which no charge to homeowners is made. [Ord. 4389A § 11, 1996; Ord. 4389 § 13, 1995].