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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Register by February 20th

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, January 20, 2016) - Sign up quickly for a chance at $3,000 worth of rebates that can help pay for seismic upgrades to your home's foundation and make it safer from earthquakes.

Take action soon to be eligible for the rebates. Property owners must register with the California Earthquake Brace and Bolt Program either online or by calling 877.232.4300 between January 20 and February 20, 2016. Qualifying homes will be entered into a lottery for the funding and homeowners will be notified by March 1, 2016, as to whether they have been selected.

In a strong earthquake, the crawl space that is common below Berkeley homes is vulnerable to collapse, dropping the house to the ground or causing it to slide off its foundation. Not only is this dangerous, but also very expensive to repair, and most homeowner insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.

The incentives from the California Residential Mitigation Program's Earthquake Brace + Bolt initiative help pay for seismic upgrades to houses most vulnerable to severe damage: pre-1979 houses which are not bolted to foundations, are built atop a crawl space, and have unbraced "cripple walls," which is the short wood-framed wall surrounding the crawl space under the first floor. Upgrading the home before the next earthquake could save a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars.

Bolting involves adding anchor bolts to improve the connection between the wood framing of a building and its concrete foundation. Bracing involves adding plywood to the cripple walls to help keep the house from toppling off of the foundation during an earthquake. 

In addition to the state's seismic rebates, Berkeley property owners can get a rebate on transfer taxes within a year of purchase. Under a program approved by the City Council, they can also borrow money with no upfront costs to spread the price of seismic upgrades over time on property tax bills and with fixed rates. 

Bolting and bracing your home can make it more resistant to earthquake activity such as ground shaking and soil failure, and the incentives will make that easier to do. Improving seismic safety is critical to advancing Berkeley's resilience - the community's ability to live well in good times and bounce back strongly and quickly from hard times.


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