Radon Gas Tests

Lola planned to submit an offer to purchase a home. Lola's real estate agent advised Lola that the home was located in a "high radon" area and recommended that Lola make her consummation of the sale transaction contingent upon the home passing a radon gas test. Lola wanted more information.

The existence of radon gas in a home is a health hazard. In residential real estate transactions, it is not uncommon for standard real estate contracts to contain a clause that makes the buyer's consummation of the transaction contingent upon the home passing a radon gas test. An example of such a clause is as follows:

This contract is contingent upon the house passing a radon gas test performed by an individual qualified to perform such inspections. If the level of radon gas found on the premises is unacceptable to the buyer, the buyer may cancel the contract.

How Is a Radon Gas Test Performed?

Typically, a radon gas test is performed by a home inspector; however, it is important to note that a radon gas test is not usually part of the general home inspection. Accordingly, a buyer must specifically request, and pay for, a radon gas test in addition to the general home inspection. In ordinary circumstances, a home inspector places a collection device in the home for a period of two days. The device measures the presence of radon. Notably, many hardware stores sell do-it-yourself kits. Such kits are quite inexpensive. Typically, a home inspector will charge between $35 and $55 for a radon test.

What if the Level of Radon Is Unacceptable?

If a real estate sale contract is contingent upon the home passing a radon test and the level of radon is unacceptable, the buyer has the opportunity to back out of the deal. In the alternative, the buyer and seller may renegotiate the sale price in order to make an allowance for the cost of repairs.