undergound oil tanks in rockland NY

Asked by Lucy And Dwight, Rockland County, NY Sat Jul 19, 2008

I am interested in a few homes in Rockland and two currently have an oil tank underground. I have been told by people that it is the sellers responsibility to remove the tank prior to sale. However, one owner is telling me it is not true. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Carol and Jo…, Agent, Yorktown Heights, NY
Sun Jul 20, 2008
In New York, the seller must take care of environmental and safety issues.

The certified abandonment of a 275 tank and replacement above ground is about $1200-1500 and a 500+ tank is around $2,000. It is NOT the obligation of the seller. However, I always recommend to my sellers before they list to go ahead and do it so it does not become an issue.

If you love the home, buy the home and have it removed; do not lose the property by digging in your heals.
Web Reference:  http://gailgladstone.com
0 votes
Marty Remo, Agent, Central Valley, NY
Sun Nov 9, 2008
If you decide to move forward in purchasing a home with an underground oil tank, I would have the tank tested by a company like Advanced Tank Testing. They usually do a non-pressure test. In the event that it is leaking, I would insist the the seller deal with the problem.

Regardless of the test outcome, you may not be comfortable with the tank being underground. You may want to ask for a credit at the closing to remove and replace the tank.

Best of Luck!!

Marty Remo
Web Reference:  http://www.RemoRealty.com
2 votes
Carmen Di Bi…, Agent, Nyack, NY
Sat Jul 26, 2008
There is no law in Rockland County requiring the seller to remove the buried oil tank if it is not leaking. If it is leaking, full remediation is the seller's responsibility. Remediation includes removing the tank, all contaminated soil, and repeat testing of the soil around the home for a prescribed period of time. Don't pass on a house you like because of a buried tank. Have the tank tested by a tank testing company, Many of my clients have used Tank Tek and reported a positive experience. Their website is: http://www.ustanktech.com/
1 vote
Maria Morton, Agent, Kansas City, MO
Sat Jul 19, 2008
Depends on the terms in the contract. That would definitely be a negotiating point.
1 vote
allan erps,A…, Agent, Pearl River, NY
Sat Feb 28, 2015
Old question & my opinion is have Seller re mediate or pass.
0 votes
Carmen Di Bi…, Agent, Nyack, NY
Sun Jul 27, 2008
Hi Lucy and Dwight,

If you are dead set against buried oil tanks, ask your realtor to sort for listings with above ground oil tanks or gas only. It is easy for a realtor to eliminate buried tanks from their search criteria on MLS. Good Luck with your search.
0 votes
Lucy And Dwi…, , Rockland County, NY
Sat Jul 26, 2008
Thanks for your help. Filling in the tank is not an option in rockland. There are tons of homes out there and we will find the right one. Most tanks do contain small leaks since they are in the ground for many years.
0 votes
Thomas McGiv…, Agent, Farmingville, NY
Sun Jul 20, 2008
"Removal" of the tank is impractical - only because if there is evidence of a leak - then it becomes a whole other ball game. Having the buried tank emptied and filled (abandoned), is the only option - practically.

A sellers attorney, if they have half a brain, will strongly advise their client to NOT remove the buried oil tank - but rather work with the buyer to resolve the issue alternatively.

I agree with Carol - digging in heals will only hurt your chances. In this buyers market - where buyers are a hot commodity for hopeful sellers, you certainly can attempt to have the seller remove the tank, but even so, that will prove to be very difficult.
Web Reference:  http://www.tommcgiveron.com
0 votes
Thomas McGiv…, Agent, Farmingville, NY
Sun Jul 20, 2008
Unless the lender (if the buyer is using a bank for a mortgage) requires it - there isn't any "responsibility" to one party. A buried oil tank is simply something a buyer can request the seller to, most likely, empty remaining oil, fill in buried with certain foaming chemical (by a DEC certified company), and put in a new tank above ground. OR the seller can tell the buyer that they can buy the house with the oil tank buried and try and push off the responsibility to the buyer to take care of it.

There's no rule or law that says anything has to be done with a buried oil tank. Now in terms of removal - this is something that if you request it, a seller will most likely NOT oblige due to the fact that it can cause many more problems. Any pressure tests, both negative and positive pressure tests can also cause a leak to occur so you're most likely not going to get any seller to have their tank tested or removed.

Filled yes - removed no. As a Realtor, I would advise my sellers to not remove or have tested their tanks. If a buyer pushes on one of these ends, I would simply advise my client to pass and wait for another buyer.

You'll find that even alot of attorney's are not well versed in buried oil tanks. It's one of those issues where there's no mandate for a residential owner to remove a buried oil tank.

So to answer your question - don't let a buried oil tank kill a deal on a house you like. Simply request that the oil tank be:
1. Emptied
2. Filled by DEC certified Company - that will provide you, the new owner with a certificate.

And a new oil tank be put above ground. Request that when the work is done, that you are present and may work with the company to choose a location for the new tank.

In order to make it a SMOOTH transition - I recommend that you split the cost of the work.

Ultimately, you should consult your attorney to cover all your bases.
Web Reference:  http://www.tommcgiveron.com
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sat Jul 19, 2008
I would also contact the city determine additional facts regarding this matter. I believe you are correct seller may not be able to convey title UNLESS this is completed. What does your realtor state? I am unclear if would be able obtain a mortgage if all is true. Due additional investigation.
http://www.lynn911.com http://www.homes-for-sale-dallas.com
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
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