Agenda Item 9
July 14,2015
Public Hearing
MEMORANDUM
July 10,2015
TO:
FROM:
County Council
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney,'t,
f
12
I)
>,
SUBJECT:
Public Hearing:
Bil131-15, Sale of Real Property
home
Radon Test ­ Single-family
Bill 31-15, Sale of Real Property Radon Test - Single-family home, sponsored by Lead
Sponsors Councilmembers Rice and Katz, was introduced on June 16,2015. A Transportation,
Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) Committee worksession is tentatively scheduled
for July 20 at 9:30 a.m.
Background
Radon is a radioactive gas found in the
air
that comes from the natural breakdown of
uranium in soil, rock, and water. High levels of radon can cause serious illnesses and often occur
in single family homes in the County. Although radon remediation from a single family home is
possible, many people purchase a home without knowing ifhigh levels ofradon exist in the home.
Radon is already listed as one ofthe hazardous materials that a seller must disclose to the buyer of
a single-family home if the seller has actual knowledge of its existence under State law. See, Md.
Code Ann., Real Prop. §§10-702, 10-603, and 10-604. As the County Attorney's Office pointed
out, State law does not create an affirmative duty for the seller to discover if radon exists in the
house. See the County Attorney Bill Review Memorandum at ©4-S.
Bill 31-15 would complement State law by requiring the seller of a single-family home to
test for radon and give the buyer a copy of the radon test results.
It
would also require the seller
to provide the buyer with an estimate to reduce radon under certain circumstances.
This packet contains:
Bi1131-15
Legislative Request Report
County Attorney Bill Review Memorandum
F:\lAW\BIlLS\lS31
Real
Property -
Radon\PH Memo,Docx
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Bill No.
31-15
Concerning: Sale of Real Prooertv ­
Radon Test - Single-family home
Revised: June
16, 2015
Draft No.
_2_
Introduced:
June
16, 2015
Expires:
December
16. 2016
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: _N=o=n'-':::e_ _ _ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Councilmembers Rice and Katz
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
require the seller of a single-family home to test for radon and give the buyer a copy
ofthe radon test results;
require the seller to provide the buyer with an estimate to reduce radon under certain
circumstances; and
generally amend the law governing the sale ofa single-family home in the County.
By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 40, Real Property
Section 40-13C
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
..
..
.
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves thefollowing Act:
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BILL
No. 31-15
1
2
Sec. 1. Section 40-13C is added as follows:
40-13C. Radon test single-family home.
=
3
4
ill
DefInitions. In this Section, the following words have the meanings
indicated:
Department
means the Department ofEnvironmental Protection.
Director
means the Director of the Department or the Director's
5
6
7
designee.
Single-family home
means !! single-family detached or attached
8
9
10
residential bUilding.
Radon
means !! radioactive gas found in the air that comes from the
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12
natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water.
Radon test
means measuring the amount ofradon in an indoor space with
13
14
!! kit made for this purpose and approved for use
Qy
the Director.
(Q)
Before signing!! contract for the sale of!! single-family home located in
the County, the seller must provide the buyer with:
15
16
17
18
19
ill
!!
fQPY
ofthe results of!! radon test performed on the living quarters
of the home less than one year before the date ofthe contract; and
ill
an estimate from !! licensed contractor to reduce any radon level of
1.
picocuries per liter or more to less than
£
picocuries per liter.
Approved:
20
21
George Leventhal, President, County Council
22
Approved:
Date
23
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
f:\law\bills\1531 real property - radon\bill2.docx
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bil131-15
Sale ofReal Property Radon Test
-
Single-family home
DESCRIPTION:
Bill 31-15 would require the seller of a single-family home to test for
radon and give the buyer a copy of the radon test results.
It
would also
require the seller to provide the buyer with an estimate to reduce radon
under certain circumstances.
Radon is a radioactive gas found in the air that comes from the natural
breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. High levels of radon
can cause serious illnesses and often occurs in single family homes in
the County. Although radon remediation from a single family home
is possible, many people purchase a home without knowing if high
levels of radon exist in the home.
Ensure that a buyer of a single family home in the County learns if the
house contains high levels of radon before purchasing it.
Department ofEnvironmental Protection
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
To be researched.
Not applicable.
F:\LAW\BILLS\153 I Real Property - Radon\LEGISLATlVE REQUEST REPORT.Docx
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Isiah Leggett
County Executive
OFFICE OF THE COUNTY AITORNEY
Marc P. Hansen
County Attorney
MEMORANDUM
July 7,2015
To:
From:
Associate Co
m
Via: Edward Lattner, Chief
Division ofGovernment Operations
Re:
BiI131-15 (Sale of Real Property-Radon Test-Single-familyhome)
Lisa Feldt, Director
Department ofEnvironmental Protection
~
The County Executive's Office has requested that this office forWard you our comments
concernblg Bill 35-15. The proposed legislation would amend County law by adding radon
testing results to the current list ofmandatory disclosures under Article III of Chapter 40 that
apply to persons selling residential properties in the County. Bi1135-15 would require that a
seller, before signing a contract for the sale of a single-family home, provide the buyer with the
results of a radon test that has been performed not more than one year before the date of that
contract. If those test results indicate the presence of radon at levels of at least 4 picocuries per
liter then the seller must also deliver to the buyer an estimate, prepared by a licensed contractor,
of the cost ofradon remediation toa level below 2 picocuries per liter.
Radon is already listed among the hazardous materials that state law requires a seller to
disclose to the buyer of a single-family home along with other defects of which the seller has
actual knowledge before entering into a sales contract.
See
Md. Code Ann., Real Prop.
§
10-702
(e)
(2)
(vii) ("Single family homes; mandatory disclosures'').
See also,
Md. Code Ann., Real
Prop.
§§
i
0-603 (a)
(1)
(iii) (''Disclosures required for unwarranted homes") and 10-604
(b)
(2)
(i) (''New home warranty provisions"). However, state law does not place upon the seller an
affirmative duty to discover the extent to which radon may be present in a single-family home
before executing a contract of sale for that home. Bill 35-15 seeks to remedy that by ensuring
that ifhigh levels ofradon are present in a single-family home, a purchaser
will
always be
informed about it before the sales contract is signed and also have some idea ofhow expensive it
101 Monroe Street, Rockville, Maryland 20850-2580
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Lisa Feldt
July 7, 2015
Page
2
will be to attenuate the problem.
Having reviewed Bil131-15, I find that the legislation,
as
introduced, appears legally
sound and does not conflict with any provisions under state law that also impose disclosure
requirements upon sellers of single-family homes. There are no specific substantive changes that
I recommend. However, the one editorial change I would suggest is that "ofthe cose' be inserted
after "contractor" at line 16. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this memorandum,
please call me
at
(240) 777-6759.
cc:
Bonnie Kirkland, Office ofthe County Executive
Marc P. Hansen, County Attorney
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
®