Frequent Questions

What is EPA's policy towards owners of residential property at Superfund sites?

In 1991, EPA issued its Policy Towards Owners of Residential Properties at Superfund Sites to relieve residential owners of the fear that they might be subject to an enforcement action involving contaminated property, even though they had not caused the contamination on the property.
Under this policy, residential property is defined as “single family residences of one-to-four dwelling units…” Further, this policy deems irrelevant a residential owner’s knowledge of contamination. The residential owner policy applies to residents as well as their lessees, so long as the activities the resident takes on the property are consistent with the policy. The policy also applies to residential owners who acquire property through purchase, foreclosure, gift, inheritance, or other form of acquisition, as long as the activities the resident undertakes on the property after acquisition are consistent with the policy.
Residential property owners that purchase contaminated property after January 11, 2002, can also take advantage of statutory liability protection for bona fide prospective purchasers by clarifying the type of pre-purchase investigation that a residential property owner must conduct, e.g., an inspection and title search.
More information is available on EPA’s landowner liability protections Web page.

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