Radon gas is present in all 50 states and according to the US EPA, is the second leading cause of lung cancer (cigarette smoking is #1). More people die from radon gas exposure than drunk driving, falls in the home, accidental drowning and home fires. Testing for radon and fixing a radon problem is relatively easy and not overly expensive. CSI recommends that all of you reading this blog have your own home tested for radon.
The lending industry is working on addressing this risk issue. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both require radon testing to some extent on multifamily deals. HUD has recently adopted a more stringent radon testing protocol, which requires that a minimum of 25% of all ground floor units be tested. A national multifamily testing standard is in the final stages of review; this standard requires all ground floor units be tested.
As expected, as more apartment units are tested for radon, more units have been identified with elevated (over 4.0 pico Curies per liter) radon levels. The radon concentration in a dwelling unit is a function of many factors. It is not unusual for one unit to have high radon levels and the adjacent unit in the same building having no radon problem. The presence of high radon concentrations presents a liability concern for the property owner.
Fixing a radon problem typically consists of a licensed radon contractor installing a subslab depressurization system (SSD), which serves to draw and expel radon contaminated air from under the building.
CSI has worked with many lenders and borrowers to address radon issues. Do not hesitate to contact CSI if you have any radon questions.