After intense pressure from REALTORS® and coalition partners, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has withdrawn a controversial proposal to ban fireplaces at the point of sale.

The ordinance, if adopted by the BAAQMD Board of Directors, would have taken effect November 1, 2016. The original proposal would require anyone selling their home to upgrade all fireplaces to an EPA certified wood burning device, gas or electric, or remove the fireplace entirely. Projects like these can run in the tens of thousands of dollars depending on the nature of the fireplace. Additionally, finding contractors with the skills to do this work could have greatly delayed sales.

Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® and staff joined forces with all of the Bay Area REALTOR® Associations, as well as coalition partners, to fight this ordinance. Members spoke out at public hearings; SILVAR President Christopher Isaacson submitted a detailed letter commenting on the onerous nature of the ordinance; and SILVAR members and staff met one-on-one with BAAQMD staff to explain how detrimental this ordinance would be to the housing industry.

BAAQMD recently released a revised proposal which eliminates the point-of-sale requirement. In its place, BAAQMD staff will ask the BAAQMD Board of Directors to approve a mandatory disclosure for all home sales on the dangers of wood-burning smoke. If this disclosure is adopted, it will be incorporated into the PRDS disclosure forms available to members.