Radon in Real Estate Transactions - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Radon in Real Estate Transactions

In Minnesota, buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction are free to negotiate and respond as they choose. Ultimately, it is up to the buyer to decide what is an acceptable level of radon risk in the home.

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Radon in Real Estate Transactions (PDF)

Disclosure Requirements

The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act does NOT require radon testing or mitigation. However, many relocation companies and lending institutions, as well as home buyers, require a radon test when purchasing a house.

Effective January 1, 2014, the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires additional disclosure and education be provided to potential home buyers during residential real estate transactions in Minnesota. Before signing a purchase agreement to sell or transfer residential real property, the seller shall disclose in writing to the buyer any knowledge the seller has of radon concentrations in the dwelling. The disclosure shall include:

  1. whether a radon test or tests have occurred on the property;
  2. the most current records and reports pertaining to radon concentrations within the dwelling;
  3. a description of any radon concentrations, mitigation, or remediation;
  4. information regarding the radon mitigation system, including system description and documentation, if such system has been installed in the dwelling; and
  5. a radon warning statement
  6. a copy of the Minnesota Department of Health publication entitled "Radon in Real Estate Transactions."

The MN Department of Health is aware that private trade organizations have created forms to facilitate the radon disclosure including the Minnesota Association of Realtors and the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA). Individuals may create their own disclosure that meets the requirements of the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act. As a sample of a radon disclosure that meets the disclosure requirements of the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, the MDH is providing the MSBA Model Radon Disclosure Form: MSBA Radon Disclosure Real Property Form 24 (PDF)

Radon Warning Statement
“The Minnesota Department of Health strongly recommends that ALL homebuyers have an indoor radon test performed prior to purchase or taking occupancy, and recommends having the radon levels mitigated if elevated radon concentrations are found. Elevated radon concentrations can easily be reduced by a qualified, certified, or licensed, if applicable, radon mitigator. Every buyer of any interest in residential real property is notified that the property may present exposure to dangerous levels of indoor radon gas that may place the occupants at risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer. Radon, a Class A human carcinogen, is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause overall. The seller of any interest in residential real property is required to provide the buyer with any information on radon test results of the dwelling.”

Recommendations to Buyers

If you are buying a home, ask if the home has any radon-resistant construction features and if the home has been tested. Prospective buyers should keep in mind that it is inexpensive and easy to measure radon, and radon levels can be lowered at a fairly reasonable cost.

House with for sale sign indicating this house has been tested for radon
House with for sale sign indicating this house has NOT been tested for radon

If the home has been tested,
the buyer must decide if the results of past tests are acceptable. In making this decision, consider:

Duration of test
Long-term tests should span both heating and non-heating seasons.

Timing of test
Short-term tests performed during the heating season are more likely to overestimate the year-round average. Short-term tests performed during the non-heating season are more likely to underestimate the year-round average.

Area of home that was tested
Determine if the location tested reflects your anticipated use of the home.

Who performed the test
Although not a requirement in Minnesota, using a radon measurement professional certified by either NRPP or NRSB is recommended if you hire a third-party to do the testing.

Level of radon found
Are you comfortable with the level of radon listed on the test results?

If the home has not been tested,
or if past testing is not satisfactory, the buyer should decide if they wish to request radon testing.

If such a request is made, it is best to bring it up as early as possible.

If a buyer asks for radon testing prior to a home purchase, MDH recommends specifying the conditions. Some points are noted below, and may be included in the sales contract:

  • Who will perform the test.
  • Type of test: short-term, long-term and/or continuous monitor.
  • Area of the home to be tested.
  • When the test will be done.
  • How results will be shared between parties.
  • Who will pay for testing.
  • How the results will be used.
  • At what radon level will mitigation be required and who will pay for it.

Finally, even if the home was built radon-resistant, it should still be tested for radon after occupancy.

Recommendations to Sellers

As a seller, consider the benefits of testing your house well before you put it on the market, as opposed to waiting until you are in the middle of the sale. If you find a problem that should be fixed, you will have time to get it corrected. You also may get a better price for the home because properly conducted radon tests can be uses as a positive selling feature of the home.

Who should perform the test?

Radon measurement professionals may be used when an unbiased third-party is desired. If a professional is hired, MDH recommends selecting a professional who is certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or by the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB), see MDH's list of certified professionals below:

If you plan to perform the test yourself, two basic radon tests are available to the public:

  • Short-term tests offer a quick and inexpensive way to "screen" for radon.
  • Long-term tests provide results that more accurately reflect the average amount of radon in the home during the year.

What if there is not enough time to perform a long-term radon test?

A closing date may place practical constraints on performing a long-term test. If time is a factor, there are three approved short term test methods.

Radon Monitor (CRM)
Short-term testing

Second fastest
Short-term testing

  • Test is completed by a certified contractor with a calibrated CRM for a minimum of 48 hours.
  • Test Report is analyzed to ensure that it is a valid test.
  • Two short-term test kits are used at the same time, placed 6-12 inches apart, for minimum of 48 hours.
  • Test kits are sent to the lab for analysis.
  • The two test results are averaged to get the radon level.
  • One short-term test is performed for minimum of 48 hours.
  • Test kit is sent to lab for analysis.
  • Another short-term kit is used in the same place as the first, started right after the first test is taken down. Test is performed for minimum of 48 hours.
  • Test kit is sent to the lab for analysis.
  • The two test results are averaged to get the radon level.

Role of the real estate professional

House with for sale sign indicating this house has NOT been tested for radon

While real estate professionals address many aspects of buying and selling homes, their licensing prohibits them from offering technical advice regarding radon and health risks, unless qualified to do so. Instead, real estate professionals should advise their clients to consult with local health authorities who work on radon issues. Or, have the client contact the MDH Indoor Air Unit.

Relocation companies

House with for sale sign indicating this house has NOT been tested for radon

Sellers and buyers who choose to work with a relocation firm should recognize that their options regarding radon testing and mitigation may be restricted by the terms of their agreement with the company.

Updated Friday, January 26, 2018 at 02:22PM