Mandatory Radon Testing Coming Soon In Montgomery County

Dated: November 17 2015

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Radon is a naturally occurring colorless and odorless gas which is a known carcinogen. The EPA has established a guideline threshold of 4 picocuries per liter and recommends remediation at levels above this limit.

The Montgomery County Council is expected to enact a bill mandating radon testing for single family homes prior to the completion of a home sale. "Single family homes" are considered to be detached homes and townhomes which are not part of a condominium or cooperative, according to the bill's language. The testing must have been performed within a year of the home sale, and it may be done by either the home buyer or the seller. While the home seller will not be required to remediate for a high radon reading, they will be required to provide an estimate from a licensed radon remediation contractor of the cost to remediate the level down to less than 2 picocuries per liter.

The County Council is expected to approve the requirement unanimously and, if the bill passes as currently written, the mandate will take effect on October 1, 2016.

The cost for the test does not have to be very high. While a radon test conducted by a home inspector will usually run about $100, there are test kits available at hardware and other stores for as little as $10, and the law will allow the results from these inexpensive kits to be used.

The county council bill does not require a home seller to remediate a high radon level, just provide an estimate for the cost of remediation. However many sellers likely will choose to remediate in order to complete the sale of their home. Fortunately, the cost of remediation is rarely more than $1,200.

While the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) opposes the mandate, the Association recognizes that the measure will pass and has offered a number of recommendations to clarify the language of the bill.

I believe passing a well written radon testing requirement will be beneficial. Obviously, no one would want to expose their family to a carcinogen such as radon, but many people never think to have a test performed. This measure will result in many more homes being tested for radon and those with high levels will almost invariably have remediation systems added which will make them safer for their owners. And really, even if you don’t have any plans to sell your home in the near future, wouldn’t it be best to make sure your home is safe from high radon levels?

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Charles Chapman

Charles Chapman has more than 20 years' experience in the Montgomery County real estate market. He has been a full-time agent through rising markets and good times, and also through falling markets an....

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