Thanks to Marybeth Cicirello from our Seattle office for this information. It is important for some homeowners with underground oil tanks to know about.
If you own a house with an oil tank make sure that you’re on file with WA state as having PLIA (Pollution Liability Insurance Program) insurance (which covers up to $60,000 in costs). It’s Free! Here’s a link to an interesting flyer about the program.
Here’s her story.
” I represented two wonderful buyers in a successful transaction on upper Queen Anne hill. They were wonderful people who were in a seemingly wonderful contract until the true colors of the Seller came out somewhere in the middle of our timeline. Those colors, I won’t get into. But I want to share one “oily” dimension of what turned out to be an extremely complicated transaction. My clients and I hired a structural inspector to come through the house. Typical. Necessary. OK. After studying that report, we had an Oil Tank Inspector come out. After that report, we certainly had a soil sample taken from around the underground tank. And here’s where things started unraveling fast! Soil Contamination. When I requested proof that the Seller had insurance coverage, it turned out that he had submitted his information to PLIA previously, but had submitted his work address as his home address. Denied Coverage. And this single error caused such financial stress on his side of the contract, it got ugly. To spare you the details, it came to this. In my addenda to the contract, the Seller was required to have the tank removed, clean all of the damaged soil (by WA state law), and replace the tank with an above-ground tank (my clients could decide later in ownership whether they wanted to switch to gas). And this overwhelming cost – financial / time / energy / stress – put the entire transaction at risk, but this is a great insight to owners. If you own a house, take care of it the best you can. Maybe not every stairway and railing and wire will be up to code, but take care. This Seller was in dire need to sell. My clients could not possibly be responsible for his errors or maintenance oversights. He had to cut his losses, and it didn’t bring us any satisfaction to stand our ground firm while his side of things were, well, leaking badly! So please. Please please. Be sure that you have the Free PLIA Insurance in WA State, have your house checked out ever so often by an inspector…and be sure that your address and phone number are filled out correctly on relevant forms!”