Radon Risk in Florida Homes and Buildings: A reminder to realtors, renters, property buyers and sellers.
Realtors abide by a code of ethics that bind them to communicate any issues that could decrease property value to buyers. Inquiries about radon measurement results, as part of real estate transactions, are received at the Department of Health Radon program. These may include questions from realtors, potential and recent buyers, sellers and renters, concerning radon measurements in single-family homes, high rise condominiums, other types of dwelling clusters, or other buildings, including commercial buildings.
It is required and critical to advance and broaden the awareness about the radon risk to the public during real estate transactions. The time of property transactions provides a unique opportunity for radon testing because other testing of property conditions will be occurring (termite, structural integrity, moisture, other indoor air pollutants, etc.). Regarding disclosure of hazards, buyers and renters should be provided a radon notice in the contract. Florida Statute 404.056 requires the following wording:
"RADON GAS: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, when it has accumulated in a building in sufficient quantities, may present health risks to persons who are exposed to it over time. Levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in buildings in Florida. Additional information regarding radon and radon testing may be obtained from your county health department."
Many realtors network with home inspectors who may also be Florida radon certified. In the past, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has fined these businesses for failing to provide radon test disclosures to clients, and have ordered these to attend a series of education classes. Note that the US EPA, FHA and HUD recommend testing for radon.
Radon risk in Florida dwellings and buildings, and professionals providing radon services, is regulated by Florida Statute. The Notification on Real Estate Documents [Section 404.056(5), Florida Statutes (F.S.)] shall be provided "at time of, or prior to, contract for sale and purchase of any building or execution of a rental agreement". However, "residential transient occupancy is excluded provided that such occupancy is 45 days or less" [S. 509.013(11), F.S.].
Some realtors may feel that radon testing may jeopardize the sale or rental of dwellings or other buildings. This may prove to be a liability. Many carry insurance which includes a statement of errors and omissions, and other statements about pre-sale or pre-rental radon tests [S.624.02, F.S.].
Education is a key to reversing misinformation. The department has developed a free video training about radon, available to realtors, and may provide training at meetings (call 800-543-8279). Additionally, you should know that only Florida certified radon businesses and professionals shall provide radon related services for a fee or other remuneration.
Listings of Florida certified radon businesses and professionals and other radon information is available from the department directly, by telephone at 850-245-4288, 800-543-8279, by FAX: 850-414-9069 or by e-mail (Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing [F.S. 668.6076]) or by surface delivery.