Laws & Regulations
Assembly Bill 301- Effective January 1, 2016
Assembly Bill 301 was enacted to amend Section 4213.1 of, and to add Section 4213.2 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to fire prevention.
Section 4213.1 requires the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to notify an owner of property, through the Fire Prevention Fee billing process, that if selling the habitable structure or structures, a division of the fee may be negotiated as one of the terms of the sale.
Section 4213.2 allows the owner of a property with one or more habitable structures subject to the fee, if selling the property, to negotiate a division of the fee as one of the terms of the sale. However, payment of the total fee liability remains the responsibility of the person who owns the habitable structure on July 1 of the year the fee is due.
Assembly Bill 2048 – Effective January 1, 2015
Assembly Bill 2048 amends Section 4212 of, and adds Section 4213.1 to the Public Resources Code.
Section 4212 eliminates the previous requirement that the Board increase the Fire Prevention Fee annually; instead, the Board is now authorized to adjust the fee if needed. The bill did not change the method to calculate the fee increase. The fee has not been adjusted since July 1, 2013, but may be in future years.
Section 4213.1 provides an exemption from the Fire Prevention Fee to any habitable structure deemed uninhabitable due to a natural disaster that occurred on or after July 1, 2014. The fee exemption is applied to the fiscal year that the natural disaster occurred, and in any subsequent year, if the habitable structure has not been repaired or rebuilt. An exemption may be granted if the owner of the habitable structure meets the following conditions:
- The owner of the habitable structure certifies that the structure is not habitable due to a natural disaster.
- The owner of the habitable structure either documents that the habitable structure passed a defensible space inspection, conducted by the Department or one of its agents, within one (1) year of the date the structure was damaged or destroyed, or certifies that clearance, as required pursuant to Public Resources Code, Section 4291, was in place at the time that the structure was damaged or destroyed as result of the natural disaster.
To obtain an exemption form or additional information regarding the natural disaster exemption, see http://www.fire.ca.gov/firepreventionfee/sra_NDE.php.
Assembly Bill X1 29 – Effective July 8, 2011
Assembly Bill X1 29 was enacted to add Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 4210) to part 2 of Division 4 of the Public Resources Code.
Existing law requires the state to have primary financial responsibility for preventing and suppressing fires within State Responsibility Area (SRA), as determined by the Board.
Section 4210, added to the Public Resources Code, provides the justification for Assembly Bill X1 29. The Legislature found and declared the following:
- Fire protection of the public trust resources on lands in the State Responsibility Area remains a vital interest to California.
- The presence of structures within the State Responsibility Area can pose an increased risk of fire ignition and an increased potential for fire damage within the state’s wildlands and watersheds.
- The costs of fire prevention activities aimed at reducing the effects of structures in state responsibility areas should be borne by the owners of these structures.
- Individual owners of structures within the State Responsibility Area receive a disproportionately larger benefit from fire prevention activities than that realized by the state's citizens generally.
- It is the intent of the Legislature that the economic burden of fire prevention activities that are associated with structures in the State Responsibility Area shall be equitably distributed among the citizens of the state who generally benefit from those activities and those owners of structures in the State Responsibility Area who receive a specific benefit other than that general benefit.
- It is necessary to impose a fire prevention fee to pay for fire prevention activities in the State Responsibility Area that specifically benefit owners of structures in the State Responsibility Area.
Section 4212 requires the Board to adopt emergency regulations to establish the Fire Prevention Fee at an amount not to exceed $150 to be charged on each structure on a parcel that is within a State Responsibility Area (SRA) plus an inflation cost adjustment factor.
On January 11, 2012, the Board adopted emergency regulations setting the fee at $150 per habitable structure with a $35 reduction for habitable structures in a SRA within a local fire protection agency. In accordance with the law, all fees collected, aside from administrative costs, are appropriated by the Legislature to the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund. The State uses this fund to support a variety of fire prevention activities, as specified in the law, benefitting owners of structures in the SRA subject to the Fire Prevention Fee.
On March 6, 2013, permanent regulations were adopted by the Board.
Section 4213 requires the State Board of Equalization to collect the Fire Prevention Fee and specifies the fee is due within 30 days of the date printed on the bill.