Is it Necessary to Remove an Underground Oil Tank Before Selling a Home?
The Simple Truth
Is it necessary to remove an Underground Oil Tank before selling a home? This is a question that we get asked frequently at ADS Environmental. They want to to know why they are told they have to remove their underground oil tank in order to sell their home when there are no laws that say this is necessary. Even though there are no laws stating that you must remove your old oil tank, it is unlikely you will be able to sell your home without doing so.
Being that there have been no new laws written in reference to underground oil tanks in years is not an assistance to anybody, in fact this is a gray area that brings up many potential issues. As of today, it is a buyers market . The economy is slowly recovering and insurance agencies are getting smarter about the way they cover things, underground oil tanks being one of them. It used to be acceptable for people to fill their old oil tanks with sand or foam. By doing this they would feel confident that doing so would be the end of any issues with an underground tank, Out of Sight, Out of Mind. Unfortunately, there were a variety of issues with this strategy of decommissioning the tanks and in the long run many leaking tanks were later found that could have been simply prevented with a removal. When the tanks were filled in place, preexisting leaks that were contaminating the soil were never looked for, or never detected, and were left to cause some major contamination issues underground. These issues often lead to necessary site remediation involving the NJDEP.
Home Buyers and Home Insurance Companies began to hear horror stories about these issues involving new homeowners who were left with the understanding and peace of mind that their new acquired underground oil tank was appropriately dealt with. So nowadays, it is not likely that an insurance company will offer liability for Underground Oil Tank to a new homeowner. If the buyer cannot get proper insurance, it is unlikely they will receive a mortgage on the home. Even though you, the seller, are not required by law to remove the Oil Tank in order to sell your property, you basically have little choice if you want to sell it.