Fannie Mae requires the lender to disclose any information regarding environmental hazards to the appraiser and note the individual mortgage file accordingly if the real estate broker, the property seller, the property purchaser, or any other party to the mortgage transaction informs the lender that an environmental hazard exists in or on the property, or in the vicinity of the property. Fannie Mae also requires the lender to disclose such information to the borrower, and to comply with any state or local environmental laws regarding disclosure.
The lender must make the final decision about the need for inspections and the adequacy of the property as security for the mortgage. For example, because Fannie Mae requires the appraiser to comment on the effect of a hazard on the value and marketability of the subject property, the appraiser would have to note when there is market resistance to an area because of environmental hazards or any other conditions that affect well, septic, or public water facilities. When the lender has reason to believe that private well water that is on or available to a property might be contaminated as a result of the proximity of the well to hazardous waste sites, the lender is exercising sound judgment if it obtains a “well certification” to determine whether the water meets community standards.
For additional information, see B4-1.4-08, Environmental Hazards Appraisal Requirements.