Heath's Blog


Radon Test Liability - Are You Being Asked To Take It On?

Some inspection companies are asking real estate licensees to be responsible for picking up a radon test, sealing it, and mailing it.

There are some inexperienced people who will do this, not understanding the liability it creates.

Other more experienced professionals are more aware of the liability that this creates for a person who handles the test, other than the inspector or the buyer.

Returning to the property to pick up the test seems to be too time consuming for some inspectors.

Causing an person to get involved in the test who is not the inspector or the buyer seems unprofessional to me.

Hearing from the company owner, "Your state MLS would probably advise against your handling the test from a liability point, but someone has to do it, and we aren't going to do it for free." I responded that other companies are willing to, and do, return to complete this as part of the service to their inspection clients. He said his company does, too, for a fee.

Do you take on this liability? What are the problems you see happening? Should the buyer take on the recovery of the test? If a fee is reasonable, how much should it be?

Heath Coker, Associate Broker
Robert Paul Properties
www.CapeGroup.com / capegroup@capegroup.com
508-274-5613  Licensed in MA
Its a beautiful day on Cape Cod!
@CapeGroup  Skype: heath.coker

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Heath - Thank you for sharing a very helpful blog.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) about 10 years ago

   Of course, returning to pick up the test is time consuming, but, as I see it, that's part of the job. There's more - or there should be - than merely sealing the test and mailing it back to the lab. It's important to make sure that there's been no tampering, that no one has moved the testing devices, that closed house conditions have not been compromised .... It might be a good idea to ask, when shopping for an inspector or other professional who measures radon, - ask if they plan on retrieving the test. Ask to see their Chain of Custody Log. Ask about their Quality Assurance Plan. Ask lots of questions. Specific regulations vary from state. The EPA website can provide you with information, including how to get in touch with your state's radon office. In Massechusetts, it is or was 800-RADON95 for in state callers, or 413-586-7525.  Even in states which have no regulations regarding radon tests, a good inspector will have standards, often based on EPA's Required Elements of a Quality Assurance Plan for Analytical and Residental Service Providers (available as a free download for those who would like to read it) The more we learn, the better.

   You asked about liability. I've never been to law school, but my guess is YES; the person who retrieves the test has a big responsibility. What could happen? ...

   Lets just suppose that the sellers are in the process of moving out, and have two doors propped opened throughout the duration of the test. To make matters worse, they accidently cover the testing devices. You or the buyer  pick up the test and return it to the lab. Results come back as 2 pCi/L. -Good enough. Then several years down the road, the new owners (your buyers) go to sell the home. there's a new radon test and that comes back as 65 pCi/L (it could happen!) People get angry, claiming that the radon concentration could not have changed THAT much in 3 years. What do you do now?

   Be careful.


Posted by Janet Campbell about 10 years ago