The Indiana Responsible Property Transfer Law (IRPTL), IC 13-25-3, has been in effect for over a decade and a half, requiring sellers of certain property to provide a disclosure form to potential purchasers and lenders at least thirty (30) days prior to transferring property in Indiana. The definition of “property”, however, was extremely limited. The IRPTL definition included only property on the federal CERCLIS list of contaminated property, property on which regulated underground storage tanks are located, and property containing sufficient quantities of hazardous chemicals so as to require reporting to state and local emergency officials. Thus, by definition, IRPTL did not apply to many industrial and commercial properties which might otherwise have environmental issues.

If a property was subject to IRPTL, the disclosure document required extensive information about environmental defects on the property. The document was required to be filed with IDEM and recorded in the County Recorder’s Office. IRPTL provided infraction penalties for noncompliance, as well as the right of a lender or transferor to void the deal prior to closing if the document was not provided or if it revealed previously unknown environmental defects.

Since the passage of IRPTL, newer mechanisms to protect buyers of potentially contaminated property are available. For example, certain federal provisions provide protection from liability for purchasers who follow prescribed steps, including the use of a qualified Phase I site assessment. (Amendments to Phase I requirements were made late last year, so be certain your environmental professional’s Phase I includes all the changes that were adopted in 2013.) There are also Comfort Letters and other tools available through the Brownfields section of the Indiana Finance Authority allowing buyers to purchase and rehabilitate property that was contaminated by others under certain scenarios.

In light of these new developments, the author of IRPTL was heard to say that the law had served its purpose and was no longer necessary. Thus, for transfers occurring after July 1, 2014, buyers and sellers no longer have to comply with the IRPTL disclosure law although they are encouraged to take advantage of other methods for protecting themselves from environmental liability.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact Kathy Lucas or any other member of the Bose McKinney & Evans Environmental Law Group.