Transactions Involving Contaminated Properties
Connecticut Transfer Act
Environmental regulation of businesses and real estate has become increasingly complex. It affects many different types of businesses and transactions, particularly (but certainly not exclusively) real estate transactions. Moreover, the penalties for not complying with applicable laws can be severe and can far outweigh the original cost of compliance. There are, however, also many ways in which environmental regulation has incorporated reasonable exceptions to provide relief where stringent regulation is not needed. Environmental law, particularly in Connecticut, changes constantly. It is important to have a skilled attorney to navigate the complex nature of environmental regulation. I focus my attention on the client’s desire to complete the transaction, to comply with applicable law, and to complete this within a reasonable time frame and at a sensible cost. I have also established contacts with many environmental consulting firms which can provide the necessary technical services.
In many business and real estate transactions, clients often do not consider all of the potential issues involved in the sale of a business or commercial property. I can work with clients, at a cost significantly less than a larger firm, to identify the environmental issues present in each transaction and to ensure compliance with applicable environmental law.
One particular area which clients may overlook is the Connecticut Hazardous Waste Establishment Transfer Program, commonly known as the Transfer Act. The scope of the Transfer Act is very broad and can potentially affect any commercial property (and even some residential properties). The penalties for not complying with the Transfer Act are severe. A seller which does not comply can be subject to significant fines and strict liability for any contamination on the property. It is critical that each property and transaction be carefully reviewed to determine whether compliance with the Transfer Act is required. I can assist clients by working with environmental consultants to ensure compliance and avoidance of any penalties.
Many potential purchasers are not willing to consider purchasing real estate with environmental issues because of the potential liability. With the right legal and technical advice, any transaction can be structured in a way so as to minimize or even eliminate any potential liability. Most real estate attorneys do not also handle environmental issues, so it is necessary to hire two attorneys to handle the transaction. Even if the two attorneys are part of the same firm, that still means paying two attorneys. Our firm can handle all aspects of these transactions, often resulting in significant cost savings for the client.