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Heating Oil Tanks – New Laws and its effects on Real Estate

To all NC Real Estate Agents;

 
As of October 1, 2015, North Carolina Laws pertaining to Non-Commercial Home Heating Oil Tanks have changed and the Non-Commercial LPUST Cleanup Funds (aka Trust Fund) have been eliminated.

 
It is no longer necessary in many cases to remove petroleum contaminated soil and groundwater from a property to achieve a Notice of No Further Action (NFA); however, in order to achieve an NFA status for these incidents without cleanup, land use restrictions will be placed on the deed of the property. Cohesion Flow Chart

 
In order to avoid land use restrictions, cleanup of all impacted soil and groundwater to below applicable standards will be necessary to achieve an NFA status for a previously impacted property. There is no longer a petroleum cleanup fund to help reimburse cleanup costs.

 
We cannot predict if these regulations will be reversed in the future or not; however, the state legislature has the authority to reintroduce cleanup requirements, and the state has the authority to reverse any Notices of No Further Actions previously or currently issued.

 
Therefore, as a buyer and a buyer’s agent, be extremely careful when buying an older home. It has now become even more important to make sure the property you want to buy does not have an unresolved leaking tank issue on premises. Even if you can buy a property with such an issue, the question remains if you can sell the property one day. It has become a situation of playing hot potato.

 
Buyers who are interested in adding or rebuilding on a property should realize that all soil impact will likely have to be removed from the area underneath the proposed building area, unless you are willing to take some risks with potential vapor infiltration, land use restriction, disclosure, insurance, and financing issues.

 
Sellers must continue to make sure the presence of current and former tanks is being disclosed when selling their property. Removing evidence like cutting off tank pipes or removing a tank without disclosing the fact that a tank exists or existed on the property is not only a likely violation of disclosure laws but also considered a deliberate attempt to hide a material fact.

 
If you have any questions concerning properties with tanks, new laws and cleanup of leaking tanks, please feel free to contact us at 919-233-8626 or at cboshoff@cohesion-inc.com, or visit us at cohesion-inc.com.

 
Sincerely,
Christoph Boshoff
Cohesion, Inc.

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