Minnesota Well Disclosure Requirements: January 18, 2014 Real Estate Radio Hour Legal Minute

Continuing on discussions about legally required disclosures in Minnesota real estate transactions, my January 18 Legal Minute covered Minnesota’s disclosure requirements pertaining to wells.

Well disclosure is the process by which the seller of property provides information to the buyer and the state about the location and status of all wells on the property. This process is required by Minnesota law, a portion of the Ground Water Protection Act. The law applies to all types of wells, including wells used for drinking water, irrigation, livestock, commercial or industrial processing, heating or cooling, or monitoring. These wells include drive-point (sand-point) wells, drilled wells, and dug wells.

Well disclosure gives valuable information to the property buyer about the location and status of wells – including unused or “abandoned” wells – on property that is sold or transferred. Unused wells provide a pathway through which contaminants at the ground surface may move down to the groundwater and contaminate nearby wells. Groundwater provides drinking water to three out of four residents in Minnesota and must be protected from contamination. Identifying and sealing unused wells is one important way to protect this valuable resource.

A seller is liable to the buyer for reasonable attorney fees and costs related to sealing of the well if the seller knew or had reason to know but failed to disclose the existence or known status of a well at the time of sale. The buyer has six years after the purchase of the property to bring action against the seller. Minnesota Statutes, Section 103I.235.
For more information and for the approved disclosure forms, you can visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

As always, archived segments are available here, and be sure to tune in to the show live every Saturday from 10 AM – 11 AM, Central Time, on WCCO Radio 830 AM.