Foreclosure in New Jersey>Question Details

Nick, Both Buyer and Seller in New Jersey

Should I tell my bank that there's a leaking oil tank on my pre-foreclosure property? The town? EPA?

Asked by Nick, New Jersey Thu Jun 11, 2009

I discovered a very badly leaking oil tank on my property, there is 3rd party(s) contamination, overall is is extremely extensive. Would informing the bank compel them to halt the foreclosure process and work with me on a modification or remediation resolution?

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I just saw this post and wanted to add my 2 cents in case anyone comes across it now like I just did. If your tank is leaking, yes it should be reported, but not to the town, or the fire department! You should tell the NJDEP, and they will ask you a lot of questions and assign you a "spill number" and from there you can apply for grants. The fire department couldn't care less about your underground leaking tank.

My advice from experience? Never EVER buy a home with an underground tank, in use or not. Have the seller remove it. If your attorney at closing doesn't tell you to have the soil tested or have the tank removed if it is not in use, get another attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 11, 2011
In most cases if the oil tank leak invoves 3rd party contamination your home owner's insurance policy should cover the clean-up less the deductible. Many people assume that the oil tank release is not covered but that is incorrect if it impacts a 3rd party. In NJ if the contamination impacts the water table it is considered to be third party and your home insurance will pay the clean-up cost. Make sure you contact the insurance company and tell them you believe the contamination went into the water table. The insurance company will have to prove that it did not impact the water table. They will send out a company with a hydro-punch that will take samples from the water table. If your policy excludes 3rd party or the contamination has not impacted a 3rd party NJ has a grant program that will refund the clean-up cost. Some one has written that the State only reimbursed 90% of the clean-up cost that may be true but the reason for not covering more than 90% is the contractor charged more than NJ has determined to be fair and acceptable for each of the clean-up cost items. Shop around or contact us for a company willing to do the clean-up at the guide-line rates. The other problem is you do have to lay out money up-front to have the work started and the state will reimburse you as you go along.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 27, 2009
Just to add, New Jersey offers grants for the removal and clean-up of contaminated sites. You can apply by contacting the NJDEP. A property that a buyer of mine was buying had that problem and the seller did the clean-up and applied for the grant. This is a time consuming process however and if I remember correctly the grant only covered 90% of the expense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 20, 2009
You have a legal and moral obligation to contact the DEP and local fire department and police if you are aware of a leaking oil tank. Forget about trying to halt a foreclosure. If you don't report it, you may be setting yourself up to lose more than your house. DO NOT CONTACT a real estate agent. CONTACT a lawyer.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 20, 2009
Hi Nick,

You obviously have quite an interesting mess on your hands. Contact me, I need more details before I can recommend a course of action. We recently dealt with an REO property that had a leaking oil tank and learned a great deal from that process.


Jacobus "Jack" Vollenberg
RE Appraiser - Vollenberg Appraisers
Asset Manager - ERA Statewide Realty
Cell (973) 590-0142
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 19, 2009
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