July 18, 2019


Should home buyers be concerned about radon gas when purchasing in New Brunswick? Should home sellers test their property prior to listing? Yes, is the answer to both questions; but keep in mind and important challenges about proper testing.

The main problem with testing for radon is the challenge it poses with timing. Health Canada recommends to proceed with remediation only if a long-term test reveals elevated levels of radon gas. Here is the challenge when purchasing real estate, long term testing has to be performed over winter months for a period of over 90 consecutive days. Therefore, it is difficult to make proper radon testing contingent to a real estate transaction.

In simple terms, radon gas is invisible, tasteless and odorless, it is caused by decaying uranium and finds its way through cracks in foundations and concrete floors of homes and buildings. Long term exposure to radon can cause serious health concern such as lung cancer.

Purchasers who hire a professional home inspector will be offered to obtaining additional services such as radon short term testing. This test is carried over a period of 2 to 3 days with the seller’s approval. If the results are conclusive and reveal levels greater then the safe norm, then the purchaser is faced with a few options. Sellers are advised not to enter into and property remediation unless a long-term test is performed and high level of radon is confirmed. Therefore, it is sometime suggested that a certain amount of money is kept in trust, at the purchasers’ attorney until long term testing results are received. In the event that long term testing reveals that the level of radon is safe, the money held in trust would be returned to the seller.

Sellers are also advised under the principle of caveat emptor “buyer beware” not to commit financially during the course of a transaction; in all fairness, radon testing is health question that concerns all home owners not just today’s purchasers. In the event of a quick closing, new home owners should test their property as soon as it is convenient. Actually, every home owners should do the same as early as next Fall.

Happy buying and selling!

Contact me if you wish.

Andre Malenfant