How to prevent radon from affecting your real estate transaction
This gas, which poses health risks for homeowners, can also affect real estate transactions. This is when your real estate broker’s duty to advise makes perfect sense.
Radon is an invisible, odourless, colourless radioactive gas that is produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the environment. In outdoor air, radon is harmless. But inside a home, it can build up and become harmful to health. In Canada, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco.
There are no areas of the country that are radon free. Although radon concentrations vary from one region to another, no home is risk-free. The only way to know if a home has a very high level of radon is to perform a measurement test, regardless of its geographic location.
What are the broker’s duties and obligations towards the seller?
Before putting a property on the market, the seller’s broker must ask his client about any factor that may affect the decision of a buyer concerning the immovable, such as the problem of radon, and disclose it.
If an existing report reveals levels above Health Canada’s guideline of 200 Bq/m3 (becquerels per cubic meter), the broker must check whether mitigation measures were carried out and if they achieved the expected result.
What are the duties and obligations of the broker towards the buyer?
The broker must transmit all the information in his possession. If the buyer wishes to conduct a radon measurement analysis, his broker will inform him of the procedure to follow and the options available to him.
The broker may suggest making the promise to purchase conditional upon performing an expertise. Although it is recommended to use the services of a certified professional, it is possible to purchase a do-it-yourself radon test kit for a minimum period of 3 months, between September and April. The kit must then be sent to a lab for analysis.
Should mitigation measures be required after obtaining the analysis report, the broker may also recommend making the promise to purchase conditional upon the seller depositing a trust sum at the notary.
For more information
- Advice and Prevention – Residential Radon – Government of Québec
- Testing your home for radon – Government of Canada
- Info OACIQ
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