I am in the midst of trying to sell my house in NJ. Now, my agent says they have a hunch there might be an old oil tank under it. Does this pose a legal problem if I want to proceed with a sale? Is this something only the realtor can get in trouble for or can I also get penalized. Also, while i'm at it, should |I sue the guy who sold it tome without saying anything about an oil tank/
3 Answers from Attorneys
this can be a serious issue, possibly costing you tens of thousands of dollars. get a good real estate lawyer.
if you are in Northern New Jersey, call me.
Ask you agent why they have a "hunch". Underground storage tanks are a problem. You can get an inspection that will check to see if there is a tank, and even if one has been removed, if there was a leak and it was not cleaned up. If it was properly cleaned up, there may have been a letter from the NJ DEPA.
You may look up some information at
http:// www. nj.gov / dep/ srp/bust/
[write this in the address window without the spaces]
Yes, if your seller knew about the tank, it should have been disclosed. But even if it wasn't, you would be liable, as would your seller and everyone back in the line of ownership. Certainly, you would have to disclose it.
It is probably better for you to have the test done, and be in a position to do something about it or at least disclose it, since most buyers will ask about it and their inspections could disclose the existence of a tank. Again, whether of not you disclose, if it is later discovered that there is or was a tank, you will be liable, unless you did a proper investigation and nothing was found.
THIS RESPONSE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, SINCE I DO NOT HAVE ALL OF THE INFORMATION THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED, AND I DO NOT HAVE A REPRESENTATION AGREEMENT WITH YOU.
* If the answers to your question confirm that you have a valid issue or worthwhile claim, your next step should almost always be to establish a dialog with a lawyer who can provide specific advice to you. Contact a lawyer in your county or township.
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You should discuss this with an experienced real estate attorney. Briefly though, if you have a suspicion that there might be an oil tank this suspicion needs to be examined. Your other question regarding who is culpable can be answered after due diligence is completed and the facts are known.You may contact my office for an appointment 732-749-3700.
My office will be open all day today, Wednesday, July 3, 2013 but closed July 4th & 5th 2013.
Keith Singer, Esq.