Sellers Legal Obligations

Title V

Massachusetts law requires that a property that is serviced by a septic system, cesspool or other private waste disposal system be inspected before a home is sold. A septic system has a tank, distribution box, and soil absorption system commonly known as a leach field. A cesspool has a pipe carrying waste from the home to a pit which distributes liquid waste.

A Title V inspection is valid for two years. It is valid for three years before the sale if you have records proving that your system was pumped annually since the inspection.

If weather prevents an inspection at sale or transfer, the inspection must occur as soon as weather permits, but no later than six months after the sale or transfer.

While the law does not specifically mandate that the seller is responsible for repairing a failed system, as a practical matter a buyers financing will usually not be approved unless a Title V certificate is obtained prior to closing.

A list of licensed inspectors and general information on Title V can be found at Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection or your local Board of Health

Smoke Detectors

Massachusetts state law requires that all residential structures be equipped with smoke detectors. Under the law it is the owners obligation to obtain a compliance certificate from the local fire department prior to closing.

Carbon Monoxide

Massachusetts enacted Nicoles Law in 2005 which requires owners of all residential properties to install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations developed the specific requirements of the law including regulations (527 CMR 31.0) establishing the specific requirements of the law including type, location, maintenance and inspection requirements for the alarms.

Lead Paint

The Commonwealths lead paint statue requires lead abatement in residential dwellings built before 1978 when a child under six resides on the property. Specifically, the law stipulates that property owners must remove or cover (encapsulate) dangerous levels of lead on surfaces measuring five feet from the floor or below. Property owners are required to disclose to homebuyers and tenants known information about the presence of lead-based paint and the hazards of lead paint prior to sale or lease being executed. Our agents are aware of all of the state and federal rules and the required disclosure documents that are mandated by law. More information and a list of certified lead inspectors is available at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Fair Housing

The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to deny or restrict a choice of housing to any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial statue (children) or national origin. Massachusetts Fair Housing Law prohibits practices that deny access to housing based on age, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, status as a veteran or a member of a military service or recipient of public or rental assistance.