Thursday, January 26, 2012

Buying or Selling a Business or Commercial Property?

In Connecticut, owners and prospective purchasers of businesses or properties where businesses now operate or have operated in the past, need to be aware of Connecticut General Statutes, Sections 22a-134 through 22a-134e, known as the “Transfer Act” or “Transfer Law.” The Transfer Act requires the disclosure of certain environmental conditions when properties or businesses which are defined as “establishments” under the terms of the Transfer Act are transferred.  The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) developed its Property Transfer Program to implement the Transfer Act.

For purposes of the Transfer Act, any piece of property or business on or from which, at any time on or after November 19, 1980, there was generated 100 or more kilograms of hazardous waste in any one month; or any property or business on or at which hazardous waste from another location was recycled, reclaimed, reused, handled, stored, transported or disposed of, will be considered to be an “establishment” (although there are some exceptions)  Additionally, any property on which, after May 1, 1967, dry cleaning or furniture stripping was conducted, or on which a motor vehicle body repair facility was located, will be considered to be an “establishment.”

A transfer will usually mean any change in ownership of an “establishment.” Depending upon the type of property and/or entity which is being transferred (land, business, assets, or a combination of these) and whether a release of any hazardous substance has occurred at or on the property or business, one of several different Property Transfer Forms, published by the DEEP, must be completed and signed, and a copy provided to the DEEP. 

In all transfers governed by the Transfer Act, an investigation of the property will need to be undertaken by a qualified environmental professional, in accordance with standards and guidelines promulgated by the DEEP.  If a hazardous substance has been released on the property, the parties to the transfer will be required to determine which one will agree to investigate and remediate any pollution which has resulted.

For more information about the Transfer Act and the Property Transfer Program, visit the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s website at:

Have questions or comments?  E-mail Attorney Tony Stevens at wstevens@bpslawyers.com