Checklist: Buying and Selling Property With an Oil Tank

Buying or selling a home can be difficult enough on its own, but factoring in the presence of a heating oil tank on the property can make this process even more challenging. For example, although many homes in the Northeast rely on heating oil tanks to keep them warm in the winter, they can represent a significant obstacle to anyone buying or selling a home. That’s because the complications oil tanks bring to a property can be enough to give a buyer reason to reconsider; in turn, that can make it much more difficult for a property owner to sell. Cleaning up after a leaky oil tank is a major burden for a property owner, given how harmful leaking oil can be to the surrounding environment. Anyone who is buying or selling a home should be aware of how an oil tank can affect their decision-making process and understand what his or her responsibilities are to avoid being caught by surprise after the sale has been completed.

Most importantly, anyone buying or selling a home where an oil tank may be must determine whether an oil tank exists on the property already. After a home is sold, the new owner assumes all responsibility related to the tank, including cleaning up after any spills. That makes it crucial that the buyer hire someone to check for a tank if the current owner isn’t sure if there is one. If there is an oil tank on the property, the new owner must decide whether or not to uninstall it. If the new homeowner decides to keep the tank, it is highly recommended that he or she has the soil around the tank tested for any contamination and purchase tank insurance to protect against liability.

Knowing what is required regarding an oil tank is essential for anyone buying or selling a home. This checklist details the responsibilities on both sides, so read up and be prepared.

Billy Willard is President of Willard Environmental Group, with over 20 years of experience on environmental issues. These include home heating oil tank removal and installation, oil tank inspection, commercial underground and aboveground storage tanks, environmental site assessments and much more. He is also an expert in the remediation of fuel oil contamination caused by oil tank leaks.