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Cutting the Red Tape or Buyer Beware? Indiana’s Repeal of the Responsible Property Transfer Law

As part of its efforts to implement regulatory reform, the Indiana Legislature has repealed the Indiana Responsible Property Transfer Law (“IRPTL”) effective July 1, 2014.  The repeal of IRPTL eliminates the statutory requirement that sellers of real property disclose potential environmental defects.

IRPTL previously required sellers to disclose certain environmental conditions to buyers on the Environmental Disclosure for Transfer of Real Property Form, State Form 52653. These conditions included whether the property was listed on federal databases for hazardous waste sites, handled large quantities of hazardous substances, or contained underground storage tanks. The failure of the seller to deliver the disclosure relieved the buyer from its obligation to purchase the property.

With the repeal of IRPTL, sellers of real property are no longer obligated to provide the disclosure form and will no longer be subject to the potential fines used to enforce IRPTL. Since many buyers and sellers now privately agree to terms for environmental inspections and obligations for potential remediation, some viewed the IRPTL requirements as duplicative.

However, without the added protections of IRPTL, buyers of real property will need to increasingly rely on their own due diligence and engage professional assistance to identify potential environmental issues. Additionally, sellers may need to reconsider the language used in purchase contracts for environmental disclosures to reflect this change.

If you wish to discuss this or any real estate-related legal topic, please contact KDDK attorney Allison K. Comstock at (812) 423-3183 or AComstock@KDDK.com, or contact any member of the KDDK Real Estate Law or Environmental Law Practice Teams.

About the Author

Allison K. Comstock

Allison K. Comstock, a Partner at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP, in Evansville, Indiana, is a member of the firm’s Business Law, Estate Planning and Probate Administration, and Real Estate Law practice teams. Allison assists individuals in developing their estate plans to effectively utilize available estate and gift tax exemptions and provide for the strategic transition of assets to children and incapacitated family members. She advises executors and trustees during the process of probate and trust administration. Allison enjoys utilizing her experience to find practical and successful solutions to her clients’ challenges, and takes the time to understand each client’s situation to provide personalized service.