On January 1, 2014, the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act went into effect. The new law, enacted by Minnesota legislators late last year, requires a radon disclosure for most residential purchases in the state. While the Act does not require home sellers to actually test for the presence of radon, it does require that they disclose the following:
- Whether a radon test was performed
- What the results of that test were
- Which remedies, if any, were taken by the homeowner as a result of a positive test
Dangers of radon
Radon is a radioactive gas that is created naturally in the ground in Minnesota. The gas seeps up through the soil and into homes, creating a danger to residents who then inhale the colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Even owners of new homes are at risk as the gas enters through seams and openings in walls and foundations in basements.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, radon is the top environmental cause of cancer-related deaths in the nation and is the most prevalent cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Approximately two of every five homes in Minnesota - 40 percent - have dangerous levels of radon gas and the enactment of the new law seeks to encourage more homeowners to perform tests which are the only way to detect its presence.
Fortunately, the radon gas exposure to Minnesotans is highly preventable and treatable. Tests are inexpensive and, if a test reveals the presence of the gas, a radon reduction system or other mitigation measures can be installed. According to contractors in the state, fixing the issue is not too expensive and is easy to do. If you are in the process of purchasing a home in Minnesota, you may wish to require a radon test as part of your real estate transaction.
Many disclosures are required during the sales process for residential properties in Minnesota. Failure to properly disclose issues with a home on the market is often a cause of real estate litigation. Following are some examples of real property disclosures required in Minnesota for each home sold:
- Presence and condition of wells
- Water quality
- Structural integrity of buildings
- Sewer system function
- Encroachments, restrictive covenants and easements
- Environmental issues
- Defective plumbing, electrical systems and appliances
If you are selling or buying, verify that all necessary disclosures are completed in a timely and legal fashion.
Consult a lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about a real estate transaction in Minnesota, consult an experienced real property lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about disclosures and other property laws can help.