A Burdensome Proposed Environmental Form

Q: " A major lender client of ours has sent over a new "Environmental Hazards" form they are thinking about utilizing. They want our "feedback". Before I call the client back and tell him he is "out of his mind" for even suggesting we would fill out this sort of form, I thought I would cool down a bit and ask what my E&O Company thinks of this?"

A: I think your initial reaction was right on. This form goes so beyond being burdensome I don't know that I can even come up with a good word to describe this. Many clients will ask the appraiser to fill out some sort of Environmental Hazards report but it is typically based on the appraiser reporting what is visible. Those forms put an additional burden on the appraiser, but at least it is limited to some degree. This form not only asks you to do a visual inspection of the property they want you to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and start interviewing people.

They want you to question the property owner and property occupants of not only the subject property, but all adjoining properties, as well. They want you to not just report on current uses and conditions but to inquire if either the subject property or any adjoining property has EVER been used as a gas station, printing facility, dry cleaners, photo developing lab or a list of numerous other uses. They expect you to inquire if any fill dirt was ever brought to the subject property, or to any adjoining property, from a site that was contaminated? This goes well beyond anything that could reasonably be expected of any appraiser and I could not advise you to answer any of these questions. Good luck.

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