When purchasing commercial real estate, a buyer should perform due diligence to reduce the risk of potentially large expenses caused by environmental contamination. Failing to do so can leave a new owner with an unexpected expense and literal mess on its hands.
Specifically, we recommend that a buyer engage a qualified environmental consultant to perform a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the property and the surrounding area before the purchase. A properly conducted Phase I ESA may allow the buyer to qualify for certain defenses under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 et seq., which imposes liability on current and certain past owners and operators of property for the release of hazardous substances into the environment. Having a ATSM-compliant Phase I ESA performed is deemed good commercial practice for compliance with CERCLA’s obligation for all appropriate inquiries.
This is but one way that a buyer of real estate can protect itself by making the effort to dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s. The B&D team prides itself on working with our clients to make sure that they take the necessary steps to protect themselves appropriately, and tailors those steps to the specifics of each client’s situation.