Special studies zones are areas that contain one or more potentially active earthquake faults which may be hazardous to structures such as houses, apartment buildings, and other types of structures. This is an area of particular concern in the entire state of California, especially to those seeking to purchase homes within these zones.

What Is The Relevance Of These Zones To Real Estate Transactions In California?

The Alquist-Priolo Special Studies Zones Act requires that these zones be disclosed to prospective purchasers of homes in California. If the property being sold is located within such a zone and contains a structure or structures for human habitation, a seller or his real estate agent must disclose to any prospective buyer the fact that the property is located within a zone.

Are There Any Exemptions?

There are two exemptions under the Alquist-Priolo Act that do not require a seller or his agent to disclose that the property is located within a special studies zone. They are:

  • A single family, wood frame dwelling that is not over two stories in height and is not part of a development of four or more dwellings
  • A mobile-home not exceeding eight feet in width

Do I Need An Attorney If It Was Not Disclosed To Me That The Property I Purchased Is In A Special Studies Zone?

A seller or his real estate agent is required to disclose to the buyer whether a given piece of property is located in a special studies zone.  The failure to disclose such information may render either party liable for negligence from any damages that result.  An experienced California real estate lawyer will be familiar with the locations of the various special studies zones and can better inform you if you have a cause of action.