Is Your Duplex Radioactive?

radon elementYou many not know this, but all homes and duplexes in Minnesota can have dangerous levels of Radon in them.

Radon comes from the soil. It is the result of natural decay and, since it’s a gas, can easily move into the air.

Radon is radioactive. As a result, long-term exposure can cause lung cancer. In fact, it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Estimates suggest it is responsible for approximately 21,000 deaths from lung cancer every year.

As a result, as of January 1, 2014,  residential Minnesota real estate transactions are now required to include radon disclosures and education.

Prior to a sale, a seller must disclose in writing any knowledge he or she may have regarding radon in the building.

The disclosure must include:

  1. whether any radon tests have been done in the duplex
  2. the most current reports regarding radon concentrations in the property
  3. a description of any radon mitigation, remediation or concentrations
  4. information about any radon mitigation system if one has been installed in the building
  5. a radon warning statement

The age of your duplex has little to no impact on radon concentrations. It’s estimated that as many as 2 in 5 properties built before 2010 and 1 in 5 built since then have unacceptable levels of radon.

There are several kinds of radon tests available, which, in the event of a sale of the duplex, you should hire a Minnesota Department of Housing-listed professional for.

And if you have no interest in selling your home or duplex, there are over-the-counter tests available you can conduct yourself.

Radon is relatively inexpensive to mitigate compared to the emotional and financial costs of lung cancer. And it would probably be wise to know whether our homes or duplexes have put us or our tenants at risk.