Utah REALTORS® Work to Preserve Air Quality, Protect Homeowners

By HOM Editor
LA-Sidewalk

UAR worked with the Utah Clean Air Partnership to issue grants to homeowners that would be used to upgrade wood-burning fireplaces to clean-air models, or to purchase alternatives.

The Utah Association of REALTORS® is working towards preserving clean air in the state while protecting homeowners from undue government regulations.

Last year, Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality proposed a regulation that would have required homeowners with a wood-burning stove or fireplace to either render the unit inoperable or replace the unit with a clean-air model before the home could be sold. The regulation would also have required that government inspectors verify those conditions had been met prior to the sale.

The regulation was couched as a purely environmental proposal but the Utah Association of REALTORS® recognized that the regulation would actually constitute an unfair burden on homebuyers and sellers. Only about 5 percent of homes in Utah are sold each year. Placing the entire burden of improving air quality on these homeowners would have been unfair and ineffective.

Another concern was that the regulation could have caused home-sale agreements to fall through. It was not clear whether government inspectors would have been able to complete all of the required inspections within the deadlines required in home-sale contracts. Also, the cost of replacing or retrofitting a fireplace can run into the thousands of dollars, and this added expense could have made homeownership impossible for some.

Although opposed to fireplace inspections at the time of a home sale, the REALTORS® association wants clean air to be an important component of the quality of life in Utah. In support of this goal, the REALTORS® Association has worked with the Utah Clean Air Partnership to issue grants to homeowners that would be used to upgrade wood-burning fireplaces to clean-air models, or to purchase alternatives. Many of the homeowners who use wood-burning fireplaces do so because they cannot afford other options. The grants help these individuals, rather than penalizing them, as the legislation would have done.

To date, 12 wood-burning stoves and fireplaces have been replaced through the grant program. The air quality improvement as a result of these replacements is the equivalent of taking 1,080 sport utility vehicles off the road.

Working for reasonable, workable measures that support clean air shows the commitment the Utah Association of REALTORS® has to improving the quality of life in their state.


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