California, in 2018, experienced its most destructive fire season in history. Widespread power outages made it difficult or impossible for some to escape. Some residents perished because they were unable to manually open their garage doors.
Reports from the 2017 Northern California fires recounted stories of neighbors stopping to help raise garage doors. Some people did not have the strength to manually open their door. A mother struggled to get her disabled son into a car because their custom van was in the garage they couldn’t open.
On September 1, 2018, Governor Brown signed SB 969 into law. This legislation requires newly sold or installed garage door openers, for residential use, to have battery back-up.
The full impact of this new law is still unknown. It will, at least create a new disclosure and inspection item when selling a home. Real estate sales agents will need to ascertain the date of the door opener installation. Home inspectors will need to test the battery during a home inspection when selling a home. Battery back-up may require periodic testing for rental properties.