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Codes

DEFINITION

Documented laws and regulations.

EXPLANATION

The California legal system can be found in a series of books called codes that identify legal matters in accordance with the subjects in question. Incidentally, Business and Professions Code section 4 is the series of codes wherein real estate law is located. Regulations of real estate licensees are codified in the California Code of Regulation, with the business and professions code constituting two parts, with the first addressing licensing while the second is concerned with real estate transactions and Subdivided Lands Law.

California currently has 38 volumes of codes, which encompass a wide variety of real estate categories, including codes relevant to businesses, energy, policy, and fire standards. The purpose of real estate law and codes is to establish standards that serve to protect both the public and the financial interests of the state.

To read about California and its legal codes, please visit www.leginfo.ca.gov.

California real estate is interpreted by the Real Estate Commissioner, whose responsibilities range from interpreting to enforcing state codes and laws. As the highest authority of real estate law, the Commissioner’s job is to promote and protect ownership in the state. More broadly, the Commissioner’s responsibilities include implementing law, working with the legislature if necessary to pass and or amend new bills, and establishing legal precedents to protect consumers in court.

Building Codes

Local, state, and the federal governments set forth minimum building standards for the safety of residential and commercial real estate. This chapter will highlight California’s standards for the safety of real estate dwellings. The chapter will also explain the various building codes given different components of a property. Readers will also be introduced to the most common form of real estate, that is, the wood framed real estate dwelling.

Federal Regulations

Building codes are legal regulations which govern the minimum safety standards for the design, construction, and alteration of real estate dwellings. The purpose of building codes is to create safety standards for the health and safety of building users and occupants. Since the early 1900s individual states began creating minimum property requirements in an attempt to promote safe housing. The end result was a drastic improvement in building safety.

Property owners that do not meet the standards set forth by the government may have to adjust the property to meet legal specifications. Banks and government run financial institutions, such as the FHA, do not provide loans to property owners whose properties do not meet the minimum building standards.

The Public Buildings Amendments of 1988, 40 U.S.C. 3312, requires buildings to be altered if they do not comply with nationally recognized building models. There are various federal family codes.

State Regulations

The state of California regulates property safety codes. To enforce the rules and regulations of minimum safety codes, the states requires contractors to pass contractor tests that deem them proficient in performing work to the standards set forth by the various government agencies.

The Department of Housing and Community Development is tasked with establishing and updating the minimum standards for construction. Each locale has specific construction standards. The standards are enforced by city agents who perform inspections during the building process. Uniform codes create the industry standard that licensed contractors must follow.

While national building codes remain foundational as they relate to state and local building codes, each state and locale have their own individual codes that represent the interests of their specific city and state. In the event state and federal codes conflict with one another, federal law supersedes.

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