ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
Home buyers have become increasingly aware of and concerned about the risks related to common household environmental hazards. Despite various laws and regulations intended to protect personal and and the environment, the discovery of environmental hazards encountered in residential real estate transactions is primarily the burden of the homebuyer. The extent of investigation and review to be undertaken by a prospective purchaser will vary depending of the property, of course. However, the ancient rule of law known as Caveat Emptor (“let the buyer beware”) still applies to the vast majority of residential real estate transactions. In fact, the failure by a seller to disclose defects in a residential real estate transaction results in liability only where the seller is under an affirmative duty to disclose. Such a duty to disclose is confined to limited circumstances, such as the sale of a newly constructed home or condominium unit.