Environmental Assessment and Due Diligence in Real Estate Transactions

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Due Diligence in Real Estate Transactions Environmental Assessment
Real Estate

You should know what you’re buying before you buy it; the same principle applies to real estate transactions. Failure to conduct due diligence so that you know what you’re buying before a real estate transaction closes can have very expensive consequences. Investigating all facets of the transaction, including the property itself, is key to ensuring that your investment is a positive one. In addition, when it comes to real estate, an environmental assessment can be critical to avoiding costly environmental issues in the future.  An Arizona real estate attorney at Provident Law® can represent your interests throughout your Arizona real estate transaction as various legal matters arise. Call our office today at (480) 388-3343 to schedule a time to talk with a real estate lawyer about your real estate issue.

Performing an Environmental Assessment

Environmental assessments involve a multi-step process to ensure that the land is free of contamination. Making an effort to secure environmental assessments is important, even for vacant properties. If you purchase property and later find out it is contaminated, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality may require you to clean it up before redeveloping it. A failure to exercise due diligence concerning environmental conditions can result in you being entirely liable for the costs of a massive environmental clean-up., Alternatively, you may be saddled with a contaminated site that you can only redevelop or resell with significant financial losses.

Phase I of an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) involves several considerations. Phase I of the ESA aims to investigate the property for the presence or likely presence of any “Recognized Environmental Conditions” in, on, or at a property. These conditions include petroleum and other hazardous substances that exist due to any release to the environment, under conditions indicative of a release to the environment, and under conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment. The ESA involves performing site and surrounding land use surveys and reviewing the property records and previous land use. If warranted, soil and water samples may be tested for contaminants, and if those test results indicate contamination, further investigation may be necessary, such as additional water and soil testing. Geophysical testing may also be necessary to determine the presence of underground storage tanks.

Options for Contaminated Real Estate

If you discover that the real estate you wish to purchase is contaminated, you can use this knowledge to your advantage so you will not bear the burden of environmental clean-up costs. For instance, you could require that the seller bear the costs of cleaning up the contamination, either by remediating the site before purchase or reducing the purchase price to accommodate the costs of cleaning up the site. Alternatively, you likely will have cause to cancel the transaction altogether based on the environmental assessment findings.

Another option may be determining if the property qualifies as a brownfield, an environmentally contaminated abandoned or underused property. If the brownfield is a commercial or industrial site with potential for development, but the contamination hinders redevelopment, grants are available to assist in covering the costs of cleaning up the property.

We Are Here to Assist You with Your Arizona Real Estate Matter

We aim to help you understand the importance of performing due diligence and environmental assessments before closing your real estate transactions. We will advocate on your behalf throughout your real estate transaction or in response to legal problems that may arise from that transaction. Contact the offices of Provident Law® today at (480) 388-3343 or online and schedule an appointment to speak with an Arizona real estate attorney about your legal matter.

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