Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Jersey Debates Adding Environmental Concerns to Home Deeds

February 3, 2010 - Should homeowners be required to explain environmental concerns on the deeds to their homes when they put their properties on the market? Some residents say yes, but others say no.

Borough Attorney Joe Ragno researched this issue after resident Lisa Riggiola suggested that the borough adopt an ordinance requiring all potential buyers to be notified that the home they are considering is located in the Plume, which is the area in the borough contaminated by DuPont.
During the Jan. 27 Borough Council meeting, Ragno outlined several reasons why such an ordinance would not be a good idea.

"There are some safeguards in place from the state that are already there for buyers that buy properties in the Plume," said Ragno. The attorney explained that describing the contamination on the deed would attach this stigma to the home long after the property was cleaned. "It would potentially be infinite in nature. When this happens, those deeds will still be out there, potentially damaging the people who own those properties," Ragno said.

Laws already in place require the real estate commission and Realtors to disclose this information. In addition, buyers are also protected by the state Consumer Fraud Act, which requires disclosure and punishes sellers who fail to disclose this information.


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