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ilovemydogbuz t1_j4g9xj0 wrote

The owner of the house has to have it dug up and removed and then inspected if I remember correctly


Front-Tea-2061 t1_j4h6wfo wrote

This. Do not buy the house unless the tank has been removed. Most likely the bank will require tank removal prior to approving the morgige and I've seen "decommissioned" tanks have spills that took $50,000 to clean up. And the dep does not cut working class people a break. Even if everyone's saying it's okay request a subsurface investigation from a local environmental or tank removal company.I'm an environmental scientist in Jersey and ny.


3seconddelay t1_j4geoto wrote

This is what we had the seller do to close 28 years ago. Cost him over 20k then because it had leaked and they had to remediate. Still can’t get grass to grow over that spot.


x4v1er t1_j4gdan9 wrote

Yes this is what I recall our agent telling us when we were buying 4 years ago.


fidelesetaudax t1_j4gj671 wrote

If it is not leaking the current owner can remove it relatively cheaply. Then it’s a simple purchase. If the current owner refuses to remove it that’s a giant GIANT red flag. Likely it is leaking. Once it leaks -even a little bit - removal is unbelievably expensive and time consuming.
Do NOT buy this house.


UsedEnema t1_j4gewbi wrote

My lawyer was telling me about a former client spending $250k to remove and clean the soil on an oil tank removal. Apparently it had been leaking.

You should confer with your attorney but oil tanks aren't something you want to deal with


Jeabers t1_j4gckss wrote

You won't be able to find financing and I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. Make the seller remove it and get certification of removal and a clean environmental record. I'd probably also do my own test as well after theirs.


littlelaws232 OP t1_j4gdify wrote

Thank you so much


Aware_Pool5073 t1_j4glrbq wrote

This guy is full of shit. Yes you can find financing for it. Depends on how the tank was abandoned. If there’s a permit of abandonment and the tank was filled with sand you are COMPLETELY fine.


jawnbaejaeger t1_j4gr1qu wrote

No, you're fucking not completely fine. This has been a huge issue in NJ for the past 10+ years.


littlelaws232 OP t1_j4hauyo wrote

Thank you the overwhelming majority of people here have been saying not to do this


RUKnight31 t1_j4ghzek wrote

Nope. Have the seller pull it and provide an NFA letter from the state or find another property.


cmetzjr t1_j4ja2ea wrote

Just to clarify for anyone else, they'll only issue a NFA if it leaked and was cleaned. If the seller removed it and it didn't leak, there isn't an option for a NFA letter.


Swiss8970 t1_j4gyl5u wrote

Oil tank in the ground in New Jersey can be a nightmare. When my sister sold her house she had to get an inspection before she sold. Turned out the tank had been leaking. Thank God she had tank insurance because it was $225,000 worth of work to remediate. And this was 20 years ago


jawnbaejaeger t1_j4gqxdo wrote

Don't do it.

They used to tell people to get the tank filled with sand and certify it as abandoned. HOWEVER, and there are multiple cases about this (just look them up), if there is any contaminated land, it doesn't matter that it was certified abandoned if it's still in the ground. YOU ARE ON THE HOOK FOR IT, and you will pay thousands of dollars to fix it.

My partner's former boss had this issue, and they ended up paying nearly 100k to resolve it. It was a fucking nightmare.

When we made offers on houses, we stipulated that the owner had to remove the tank. If they said the tank was removed, we pulled the permits to prove it, hired a company to do a tank search, and had the soil tested for contamination.

Again, don't buy a house that has a sand-filled tank if you're not willing to do the above.


cyclingman2020 t1_j4i0h34 wrote

When I moved here 6 years ago, my attorney told me to pay a few hundred bucks for a tank scan. It gave me peace of mind.


WhatIsTickyTacky t1_j4grluu wrote

Every house in my neighborhood with a tank has had it removed and remediated by the seller before transfer. It would be ridiculous to take on the liability of a potentially leaking tank from someone else.


zornucopia t1_j4gysm8 wrote

do not buy that house until you have certification that the tank was removed and that all related environmental cleanup is complete


Wide-Entertainer952 t1_j4h2bdt wrote

No don’t accept a decommissioned or sand filled oil tank make them get a permit take remove the tank from the property have all inspections completed and signed off by the town you are in and keep all paperwork on file so it doesn’t come up when you go to sell your property.


Pdwizzle t1_j4ha94l wrote

If you have to make a concession to buy a house inside your budget, that's one thing. You can take that risk if inclined. But decommissioned doesn't mean it wasn't leaking, and you're on the hook for soil remediation (ludicrous amounts of money) if you buy the house and it's found that there is soil contamination. If you can, demand the seller have it removed entirely and the soil underneath it tested. That's a hairy situation in itself and they probably won't agree to it, at which you should just walk away. I don't know if the option exists or if you're desperate enough, but ask if they will have it removed and add some of the expense to the sale price provided the soil test comes back clean. Other houses are out there and even more will show up if you can wait. I personally wouldn't take the risk, especially not with the current house prices.


colonel_batguano t1_j4hay0h wrote

Even if you could get a mortgage, and the soil tests OK, just having a tank in the ground when you go to sell will make most buyers run away as soon as they hear about it. You don’t want to inherit that liability.


elmwoodblues t1_j4hqi0j wrote

Put it this way: if the tank is in the ground, I would think twice about taking ownership FOR FREE.


cladtidings t1_j4gdqec wrote

Yeah, sometimes getting it removed is pretty easy and not especially expensive, but sometimes it isn't. It can be relatively simple, it can also be a nightmare.


Bubbaaaaaaaaa t1_j4go5jd wrote

This is one of those things similar to a septic let the home owner fix it, if they don’t want to walk.


storm2k t1_j4hyr2a wrote

if the seller refuses to have it pulled, walk away from the deal. if it's leaking it will cost you a small fortune to remediate it. and dep will make you fully remediate it.


SnooWords4839 t1_j4h8pvm wrote

Make it part of the contract for the seller to remove it!!


Soft_Turn408 t1_j4hb292 wrote

Lots responses here about leaking. It’s all depends what the location of the tank is currently. Is it in the Basment ? Is it above ground? Is that’s the case then you shouldn’t have an issue. You will run into issues if you have to dig the tank out.


CarsandShoes t1_j4i5yaj wrote

Purchased in 2020, home had a tank, it was disclosed. We still conducted a tank sweep to ensure that was the only tank on the property and had the seller remove. After removal, no leakage luckily, soil was still tested and we were given the green light to move forward. Don’t buy unless it’s taken care of.

I know of an owner that purchased no contingencies during the craze, found a leaking tank and had to have abatement completed. They dug up dirt from under 60% of the homes slab, multiple dump trucks worth, cost them 1/2 their homes value and lost time in the home.


s55555s t1_j4hjmau wrote

Is it underground or in the basement? I have one in my basement and don’t plan to do anything.


ElReydepiedra t1_j4hm33q wrote

I was in a similar situation. The seller and I split the cost of removal because no buyer could get a mortgage with the tank in the ground. It cost 10k (5k each).


largos7289 t1_j4gxfrb wrote

Depends i say depends because it's up to the towny or inspector you pull. Some make you/them dig up the tank, some say fill it with sand can be expensive. It's usually taken care of at closing or before. If they don't do it they say they take x amount off the price of the house for you to do it. That's been my experience.


papat22 t1_j4i42hs wrote

the tank has to be dug up ! dont buy unless it is!
all the advise here is correct ! I went through this we bought a house 20 years ago and when we went to sell the tank that was "decommissioned" still had sludge and contaminated the soil we were so "lucky" that we were close to a neighbor and because we contaminated their soil insurance covered the clean up. thought i was never going to sell that house!!


mykepagan t1_j4i7qsi wrote

When we bought our house 29 years ago, we were assured that the oil tank had been decommissioned. BUT there was no paperwork.

About 6-7 years later, my wife (who is a licensed environmental engineer and certified hazardous materials manager) noted that the NJ laws were changing and likely to become much stricter and onerous on homeowners. IIRC, “decommissioning” was no longer going to be possible. So we bit the bullet and had the tank removed completely (not cheap). AAAaaand… it had not been decommissioned. Not at all. Goad we had it taken care of.

My advice: if you do not have legal paperwork from a licensed contractor, the tank is not decommissioned.


[deleted] t1_j4i74s4 wrote

I really think this depends on what township you live in. I bought my house in 2016 with an above ground oil tank. We converted to natural gas and there were absolutely no issues at all with getting my old oil tank picked up.


metsurf t1_j4ll30q wrote

It is a state issue with local town permitting issues around actual work.


VividToe t1_j4ia036 wrote

That’s so funny cause my grandma definitely still has a tank in the ground below my childhood home. I always wondered what I’d do if she left me that house, and reading the replies in this thread have me wondering now: who foots the bill if the owner dies and the property goes unclaimed?


Zealousideal-Road279 t1_j4ihc4s wrote

If your agent has not skipped 5 steps ahead of this and just ordered the attorney to negotiate removal or kill the deal, switch agents. They don’t know what they’re doing.


metsurf t1_j4llilf wrote

I can't imagine a selling agent not advising sellers to get this done. It's a huge risk and definitely a deal breaker for a home sale.


FalseTruth t1_j4ilx99 wrote

I don’t think it can be sold with an underground oil tank period… removal and remediation must be done and documented by a certified company… rule of thumb for oil tanks, if it’s underground, it’s leaking.


cmetzjr t1_j4j2ine wrote

>don’t think it can be sold with an underground oil tank

It can be in theory. But the mortgage and/or insurance companies might limit options.

>removal and remediation must be done and documented by a certified company

Removal by a certified company. Remediation only if it leaked, in which case you'll need a NFA from DEP.


boomboomroomroom t1_j4irlfy wrote

In order for it to be considered decommissioned by the state, the seller should have a No Further Action Letter (NFA). Basically, this document proves that the tank was taken out of use and there are no contaminants in the soil. And if there was contamination, the NFA indicates that those contaminants were successfully remediated.

I used to work for the Department of Environmental Protection years ago and these oil tanks were always a huge hassle. And like everyone is saying, it wasn’t uncommon to see people spending $200-300k to remediate. That’s why when I looked for a house I was adamant with my realtor that I wouldn’t consider anything with an oil tank.


cmetzjr t1_j4j31nu wrote

>Basically, this document proves that the tank was taken out of use and there are no contaminants in the soil.

I know what you mean, but to clarify for others: You can't get a NFA for removing a tank that didn't leak. Only if it leaked and was cleaned up.


boomboomroomroom t1_j4jh7eu wrote

Tbh, especially with the underground tanks, I’ve never once heard of one that hasn’t leaked.


cmetzjr t1_j4ji4g0 wrote

Oh I've been on lots that didn't leak (usually when business was slow, per Murphy's law). Well drained soil, newer tanks, old thick ones. They were out there.


koalafishmutantbird t1_j4irpsv wrote

probably a stupid question but is there a particular area in Jersey where homes are equipped with oil tanks ? or are they found everywhere? is this a common or uncommon fixture for NJ households?


cmetzjr t1_j4j3e1e wrote

They're everywhere. Urban areas have or historically had them. Rural areas don't have gas so either use oil or propane. And suburban developments often had them, then converted to gas, sometimes leaving the tank in the ground.


Alez003 t1_j4ivn93 wrote

My and my girlfriend just went through this we wrote it into the lease that they were responsible to have it removed it delayed the close but worked out.


cmetzjr t1_j4iwbus wrote

I did residential tank cleanups for years. I agree with everyone who said to have the seller pull it. Even if there's a letter saying it was tested or filled with sand. I've pulled a lot of "clean" tanks that had clearly leaked for a long time.

Getting financing probably won't be a problem, getting insurance might not be either. The problem is the basis of environmental law: if you own it, you're responsible, even if you didn't spill it.


glaciermonkey666 t1_j4iynjt wrote

Most mortgage companies are you going to require removal. In some towns the tank must be removed before it can transfer title...


RevolutionaryPlay4 t1_j4j12zl wrote

Those things are a PAIN to deal with even if no oil leaked out at all. If the home needs a lot of other work I would not recommend it.


igglesfangirl t1_j4lbgrk wrote

Jumping in a day late, but decommissioned just means no longer in use. If done properly, there should be a certicate of approval at the township. If not, I would ask the seller to remove. I disagree with any comment that you can't get financing. Lenders evaluate your financial ability to pay the loan and expect you to look out for yourself as far as any risk of financial hardship, such as environmental cleanup for a leaking tank.


Meowdave t1_j4ix0m8 wrote

If it was already decommissioned then you don’t need to worry much. I say this as many decommissioned tanks , when done properly, were tested and typically filled with sand. If the tank is just underground and NOT filled. I doubt it was formally decommissioned.