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  1. #1
    Jonathan Cartwright's Avatar
    Jonathan Cartwright Guest

    Default Hazardous Materials

    On an inspection today I found a 55 gallon drum full of an unknown liquid. The drum is next to the curb at the end of the driveway. This drum is labeled however the nature of the contents is unknown. The top of the drum has also been punctured.

    I verbally addressed this with the client and the agent stating that the drum would not be picked up by the local trash guys and the trash company may have the resources to take it but there may be serious costs for this. I recommended that they have the seller, if possible, arrange to have the drum removed.

    I also stated that I would consider this a hazardous material due to the fact that it is, at this point, unidentified. Because you don't know what this stuff is by definition you do not know how to handle it safely.

    My question; Is this something that you would also put in the home inspection report? Or is it something that you would mention as I did and nothing more? Or, perhaps, not even mention at all?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Hazardous Materials

    If I find stuff like this in attics or crawl spaces I always mention it because everyone can't see it. When it's sitting in plain sight at the end of the driveway I'm less likely to. It would probably depend on the situation and if I talked to the buyer about it on site.

    If the buyer was out of town I'd probably document it just to cover my butt. I can't see any liability but that doesn't mean you can't end up on a long road of a lawsuit with everyone anywhere near the house named.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Chicago IL

    Default Re: Hazardous Materials

    I would take a photo and put it in the report as a concern. Since it is sitting at the end of the driveway, do we actually know it 'was' from this building? Maybe someone fly dumped it on the curb.
    If it did belong to the building, maybe the Seller thinks the garbage men will take it. Once he finds out they won't he may just haul it back into the garage behind some cardboard boxes.
    Deal closes, your client moves in, finds it, finds out how much it will cost to dispose of properly, is pissed, has a friend who says 'your HI should have seen that', and you get a call from the lawyer.
    If you have the pick and a note in the report, you can tell them to take a flying ... If not, then it's a bunch of wasted time.
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Philadelphia PA

    Default Re: Hazardous Materials

    What is the downside of putting it in the report? Upsetting an agent?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Default Re: Hazardous Materials

    The original content was Concrete form release oil.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Southern Vancouver Island

    Default Re: Hazardous Materials

    I'd report it. The buyers don't want to deal with it, so help them out.

    I report the abandoned water heater in the back of the basement, too. A few months back, a single elderly lady buying a townhouse, sellers had shoved the old tank into the back of the crawlspace, entry down a steep bank with neighbour' yards on either side. I'm sure they were choked when they heard from her realtor.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455


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