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My father is cheating on radon test to sell home - what to do or say?  XML
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Rolling Stone

Joined: 05/29/2017 02:09 PM EDT
Messages: 5

So, my father is selling his home in Morris County, NJ. I live with my father. He received an offer in March, and after some back and forth they agreed on the final price.

The buyers brought in an inspector for a home inspection, and the inspection found several issues, one of them being high levels of radon. The initial test was 5.8. All of the tests are the charcoal cannister type. The first test was put in by the home inspector.

So my father hired a company for radon mitigation, and they installed fan/cover system in the basement.

A second test found that the levels were high again, still above 5.0. This second test was again a charcoal canister, and my dad picked up and placed the canisters himself. However, it was placed on an end table, which was about 3 feet high (as opposed to the level at which your head is, about 5-6 feet high).

For the first two tests, the basement door was closed, as were the windows.

He had the radon mitigation company come in again, and "seal" the french drain along where the slab meets the cinder block wall. The guys from the company stated that it probably wouldn't pass the test, and that a second fan system would have to be installed (on the other side of the basement, I think). But, they said let's see what the test results come back as.

So, for the third test, my father picked up the test again, but this time, he left the door to the basement completely open, for the entire time of the test. He specifically stated to me, that if the test doesn't pass, he would have to pay for more mitigation to bring the level back to legal limit. I didn't say anything to him, and didn't close the door myself, which I think would have been a moot point, since the test was already invalid, and he would have reopened the door anyway. It's not as if he didn't know what he has doing.

The results came back from the testing company, and they "passed," at 2.8. My dad then sent the results to his broker and real estate attorney.

Some of my questions are:
At this point, should I say anything to anyone? If so, to who? My dad's broker, or attorney? Or the seller's broker or attorney?
Should I keep quiet, as it's not any of my business?

As far as I know, I'm the ONLY person my dad has told this to. He hasn't told his broker, or attorney. I'm pretty sure, that if he told his broker, the broker would have objected and told him to do the test right, and perform whatever action is needed to get the radon levels down. He certainly didn't tell the attorney, in fact my dad send the attorney the fraudulent "passing" test results, presumably to pass on to the buyer's broker/attorney. I am not the seller, and I didn't conduct any of the tests.

I don't know the details of the buyer's contract, but i do know that they have put in a deposit in escrow with their attorney, they have brought in the home appraiser to our home, and the closing date is June 28th.

I've read that if they perform their own test after moving in, and the levels don't match, that my dad could be sued?

Not sure what to do here, as I would want my dad to avoid a future lawsuit from the buyers. I was thinking of contacting the buyer's broker directly and explaining the situation to him.
The Dude

Joined: 10/21/2014 11:01 AM EDT
Messages: 48

If I have this straight, you father deployed the cassettes himself. No real estate transaction is valid with a test you deploy yourself and the buyers should catch that.

Boy, this is sticky.

Dr. John D. Shane, PhD
Chad D

Joined: 06/24/2014 08:55 AM EDT
Messages: 783
Location: Marquette Heights (Peoria) IL

I agree with Doc Shane. Most of the time testing is done during a Real Estate transaction for radon, mold, IAQ, water, etc. is performed by an outside (3rd) party. The buyers may not catch it because they don't know all of transaction details. The buyers agent (if they have one) should catch it. Attorneys may or may not. What you may be able to do is go to the buyers agent/attorney side and casually ask a few questions and maybe allude to the test was not done professionally and see what they say. You could also inquire about having someone do the radon test with Continuous Radon Monitors (CRM). the CRMS will give better results as they can record reading every 1-4 hours and are not biased towards the last 12 hours like charcoal is. If you don't feel comfortable going to the buyers side of things, you can reach out to your state department that deals with real estate and ask questions to them as to not directly accuse anyone or causing additional problems.

While no one wants to spend more money than they have to or even get family members in trouble (financially or legally), I do applaud your integrity by inquiring what to do here.
Unless we have a professional from New Jersey here, won't be be as much help since we don't know NJ state laws on such matters.

Chad Dunham
Eagle's Nest Inspections
Home Inspections
203K Consulting
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing
Radon Testing
Mold Testing
Rolling Stone

Joined: 05/29/2017 02:09 PM EDT
Messages: 5

The first test was done by the home inspector (third party), hired by the buyers. The subsequent two tests were done by my father. I think our listing agent said that because we hired a company to do radon mitigation after the first high radon reading, he mentioned that we are allowed to conduct our own followup radon tests, I think.

As an update, my father sent the "final" results to our attorney and listing agent, and our attorney sent the results to the buyers side attorney and real estate agent. The township also came by to do a final inspection, and that also passed. They spent all of five minutes walking around the basement and gave the certification to my dad.

So I'm really not sure if I should say anything at this point, because now everyone has this false test result, including the buyers and the township.
Juan Jimenez
Seal Team 6

Joined: 06/18/2014 08:53 PM EDT
Messages: 988
Location: Richmond, VA

Who would you tell? In my opinion it is the buyers responsibility to do something at this point, not yours. When they receive the test results, it will show that your father did them. If they are smart, they will request a test from a third party. If they don't do anything that is on them.


Joined: 06/18/2014 10:11 PM EDT
Messages: 151
Location: Columbus Ohio area

Any update to this situation?

Habitation Investigation
1015 E Broad Street Columbus Ohio
Columbus and Dublin Ohio home inspections
Pop Tart

Joined: 12/20/2017 02:01 PM EST
Messages: 28
Location: Newburgh, IN

For anyone interested, the EPA Buyers and Sellars guide are widely used resource for how to conduct a Radon test.

For concerned how owners, reference the citizens guide.

Drew Sleezer
Rolling Stone

Joined: 01/15/2018 11:53 PM EST
Messages: 4
Location: 4521 S Redbud Ave,Broken Arrow, OK 74011

No real estate duty or transaction is valid in this. Your father has deployed the cassettes himself.

Drew Sleezer
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