Sensible approach

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During the Aug. 27 Malibu City Council meeting, the council, while considering the Point of Sale (septic inspection) Ordinance, strongly indicated that this would be passed into law in the very near future. The Malibu Association of Realtors has made every effort, working with city staff, to modify this ordinance so that homeowners will have the ability to sell their properties without enduring a bureaucratic nightmare and incurring significant cost. However, by voicing our opposition to this ordinance, Malibu Realtors are being depicted by some as self-serving, anti-environmental and unsupportive of our community. It is our job as professionals to sell properties, and it is our responsibility to ensure that buyers perform due diligence and sellers disclose all issues pertaining to their homes.

There is no question that if there is a wastewater problem the council has a duty and obligation to control and immediately eliminate any health hazard, an action that all Realtors would support. The present ordinance only addresses problems that arise at the point of sale and will only inspect approximately 3 percent of Malibu homes, on septic systems, each year. In addition, we feel that the council should be willing to determine the source of pollution before rushing into law an ordinance that will create substantial hardship and confusion for homeowners in Malibu.

We have offered what we believe to be a much more efficient solution to the problem and one that will allow the city to meet its obligations to the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The city could accept the inspection report from the buyer’s inspector and require that information on the septic system be provided as part of the application process for an operating permit. This would meet the city’s goal of compiling a database of septic systems while still allowing the inspection process to follow its normal course during escrow. It would also eliminate the lengthy inspection process outlined in the City’s septic inspection forms and greatly increase the efficiency of the process.

The Malibu real estate community is committed to improving our environment and quality of life. We are your neighbors, fellow homeowners, and our families enjoy our beaches and swim in the ocean. Our members serve on City commissions and committees, and donate their time and resources to countless charitable causes.

We urge homeowners in the City of Malibu to study this ordinance and the separate City inspection forms, and advise their Council members to avoid a rush to judgment that will cause confusion, expense and other hardships at the time they sell their homes. Further information about this ordinance can be obtained on the city’s website.

Christine Rodgerson, president

Malibu Association of Realtors