Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Resilientmon…, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

Which party typical pays for the underground tank inspection and is it a part of an inspection contingency?

Asked by Resilientmonkey, San Francisco, CA Sun Mar 18, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


It is the Seller's responsibility to "pass on" their (normally) Golden Gate Tank Inspection certificate, from when they purchased the home.

However, if Seller does not supply you with the certificate, it is the Buyer's responsiblity to "satisfy" their need-to-know. To have a tank inspection in SF costs around $400. To remove a "found" tank, it will cost a Seller around $10K. So for a buyer without the certificate from the Seller, it is worth spending the $400. But yes... all is negotiable.

I am personally doing a re-finance, and after 14 years in my Presido Heights 1908 house, the lender actually asked me to provide them with a Underground Tank Inspection certificate. So again, it is good to have.

From my understanding, it generally is not part of an inspection contingency, unless noted in the "additional terms"... But if a tank is found...it sure can be a deal stopper...with a lot of negotiation to ensue.

Susan Mortenson
McGuire Real Estate/Lombard St
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 19, 2012
Thanks for the info, Susan. Are the UST certificate required for condo sales?
Flag Wed Jul 16, 2014
Flag Mon Mar 19, 2012
All terms on the purchase contract are negotiable. Typically the seller pays for underground storage tank removal inspection report. If the report was already done before it has been reordered within reasonable time; you can call Golden Gate Tank Removal and they issued a certificate. It costs about $150-200. That is without having them to go to the property to do the inspection. I recommend calling them to see if they still do it for that price. It they come to your home it cost approximately $400.

Mayra Espinosa
Mcguire Real Estate
360 Primrose Rd, Burlingame, CA 94010
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
In San Francisco it is part of the purchase contract #16. Compliance with local, state and federal law. It states that if the seller has not provided proof there is not an underground storage tank then the buyer has to pay for the inspection. If a tank is found it is the responsibility of the seller to remove the underground storage tank before close of escrow. Buyer is responsible for UST found after the close of escrow.
I recently ordered one for a buyer and it cost $90.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 21, 2014
Hi Lisa, who did you use for the inspection? Thanks!
Flag Mon Mar 31, 2014
The buyer is responsible for paying for the inspection, but the seller is responsible for the cost of removal of any tank that may be found to exist. Previously someone referenced a cost of $400 for an inspection in San Francisco. That is incorrect. The cost for the inspection is from $75-150 depending on the company.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 25, 2013
Seller usually provides this. Cost is $175. Only have to do once. Takes 5 min for the inspection. Unable to sell a property if a SFR doesn't have the inspection. Seller pays to have it removed
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
All sellers will give you the document if they have one. Make sure you get the paperwork disclosing the underground storage tank laws. I have found, however, that most sellers do not want to pay for the tank inspection and leave that to the buyers. It is unfortunate but that's the way it seems to be these days. If a buyer has an inspection and a tank is found, the seller pays to remove it. If you feel there is a good chance of a tank, get the inspection. Better safe than sorry.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 19, 2012
Flag Mon Mar 19, 2012
Like anything else, it's negotiable. If you are the only one making an offer, then ask the seller to pay for it if they have not included it in the disclosure pkg.

If it's a multiple offer situation, pay for it yourself because t's usually only $100-150 and any edge you can get in trying to ratify the contract is to your advantage.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Flag Mon Mar 19, 2012
Many sellers will have a tank inspection prior to going on the market, and include the result in their disclosures, but they are not obligated to do so.

If the seller doesn't provide the inspection, then by all means the buyer should have the inspection during the inspection contingency period. In this case, the inspection would be at the buyer's expense, but well worth it. The contract even has a clause in in advising the buyer to make sure the tank inspection is done.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, or if you'd like more details.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Flag Mon Mar 19, 2012
Typically the seller pays for the inspection and provides the report as a part of the disclosures. According to the SF purchase contract, page 4, item 16B:

"UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS (“USTs”). The parties acknowledge that Article 21 of the San Francisco Health Code requires owners of real property in San Francisco with USTs located on or immediately adjacent to the Property to file a plan for their closure within thirty (30) days of discovery. If Seller has not provided Buyer with a written report by a licensed contractor specializing in USTs stating that no such tanks can be located, then Buyer is advised to conduct Buyer’s own professional inspection, which Seller shall permit. If the inspection reveals the existence of USTs, then Seller shall, at Seller’s expense, remove them and complete any necessary remedial work to the Property prior to Close of Escrow. Buyer may be responsible for USTs found after Close of Escrow."

If no inspection has been done and you do not conduct one prior to close of escrow, then you run the risk of being stuck with the cost of the removal as the new property owner if a tank does exist.

Your agent should be on top of this as a part of the inspections and disclosures.

Oggi Kashi - 415.690.3792 direct
Broker Associate, Paragon Real Estate Group CA DRE 01844627
All data from sources deemed reliable but subject to errors and omissions, and not warranted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Flag Mon Mar 19, 2012
The seller used to pay but now the seller typically gives the buyer a disclosure to sign. The cost of having it done isn't expensive and it really benefits the buyer because if there is a tank then the seller has to remove it. If there is no tank the buyer can hold onto the inspection report and use it again when they sell.

If there is any chance the porperty could have one the buyer should get the inspection. I guess in closing there is no "typical" right now so it is completely open for negotation as to who pays for the inspection. The current owner has to pay for the removal if there is a tank in the ground.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Flag Mon Mar 19, 2012
Jed Lane; Fog…, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
Neither is required to pay, so it is negotiable. Be advised that the city can make the current owner remove the UST, so if you're buying a property, it is best to have the UST inspection performed before the close of escrow and have the removal of the tank as a contingency to closing. Otherwise, the new buyer will bear the risk and cost of the possible removal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Flag Sun Mar 18, 2012
typically seller pays pre sale. more sellers have been leaving this up to the buyer which they are entitled to have the inspection
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Thank you
Flag Sun Mar 18, 2012

Normally this is paid by the seller and in SF, is normally done as a part of the pre-sale process.

Hope this helps.



Rich Bennett, Realtor in SF since 2002
415.305.4911 cell

Zephyr Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 18, 2012
Thank you!
Flag Sun Mar 18, 2012
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