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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33757
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Are you signing off soon, or will you be online for awhile longer?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.
Hello again,.Thank you for requesting me personally. I should be online for around another hour.. So feel free to post a question and I will see if I can help..Barrister
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Remember the people who wanted to turn the old store into a café? Let us look at another side to that case. The building has been vacant for maybe 20 yrs. & is about 40 yrs.old, but the brick structure is in sturdy shape. You said that the possible gas tank still in the ground would make liability insurance difficult to obtain, even after renovation. Even if the tank had been removed and closed, there could be pollution problems down the road.

Now if the seller, the original owner of the 3 acres and store, owned other property and had other assets, would he be wise to form an LLC for himself and deed the store, and only this store with 3 acres, to his LLC… in order to reduce his risk and protect this other assets? He might be old and was actually the person who ran the store 40 years ago?

Can he rid himself of his pig in the poke by giving his tank and building to an LLC? Can he cut his possible future losses that might arise from pollution problems? Is he in a different position from the people who want to buy the store and convert it into a café? Seems if he cannot shield himself, then he would be more willing to sale at a good price? But maybe he can shield himself as well as the buyers can shield.

Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.
would he be wise to form an LLC for himself and deed the store, and only this store with 3 acres, to his LLC… in order to reduce his risk and protect this other assets? He might be old and was actually the person who ran the store 40 years ago?.Not a bad idea, but the potential liability has already attached to the original owner under the CERCLA laws that allow the federal govt to reach back through previous owners to make them liable..Can he rid himself of his pig in the poke by giving his tank and building to an LLC?.Nope, CERCLA still reaches back to him through successive owners..Can he cut his possible future losses that might arise from pollution problems?.If he goes out and gets a private environmental assessment under the table, he can find out whether he is facing a huge cleanup bill. Then he could get assets out of his name and then a year or so later contact the EPA for help in cleaning up the site as they can help in to pay for cleanup if the owner has no money to do so themselves..Is he in a different position from the people who want to buy the store and convert it into a café? Seems if he cannot shield himself, then he would be more willing to sale at a good price?.Basically, anyone who owns the property acquires the liability for it and if they have no money, the feds can look to the prior owner for money, and if they have no money, back further, and so on until they have exhausted prior owners. Then they would kick in to pay for cleanup..So yes, if the current owner has a potential timebomb on his hands, he may be willing to sell it for a steep discount...thanksBarrister

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