Homeowners worry about property value amid lead contaminated soi - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Homeowners worry about property value amid lead contaminated soil

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The real estate industry is booming in Chattanooga’s Southside. But after the EPA confirmed high levels of lead in at least seven neighborhoods, residents wonder if that boom will last.

Homeowners are worried the value of their property will plummet with high levels of lead found in soil nearby; but, a real estate agent told Channel 3, since there is a plan to get rid of the lead, sellers and buyers should not be worried.

Cameron Williams moved to the area two years ago. He learned about the lead problem just 6 months ago.

"I'm upset that we weren't aware of this before we started looking at the neighborhood,” explained Williams, “I think the city has a responsibility to let us know about any type of chemicals or any type of hazardous materials that are in our areas."

His story isn’t the only one like it, many homeowners and renters told Channel 3 they didn't know about the problem when they purchased a home or signed a lease.

READ MORE | Southside residents worry of hidden dangers from lead contamination

"It was definitely a surprise,” said Taylor Black who rents a home in the Southside, “We weren't told about it when we were looking at renting on this street."

They said not knowing the issue was being looked into seems unfair.

"Morally I think you should let somebody know if there's a high amount of lead in the area," Williams said.

“I think it's proper for anyone who is renting or selling to tell people that that's at least being explored as a possible factor," Black urged.

Realtor Mark Hite said sellers and landlords do have an obligation to tell potential buyers about the lead problem.

READ MORE | Southside Chattanooga Lead Site needs federal funding for contaminated soil

"You're obligated to disclose it going forward,” urged Hite, “So from the point of knowledge is when disclosure should take place."

Neighbors said if they would have known about the problem they may have looked at other options.

READ MORE | Local pediatrician weighs in on dangers of lead to children

Moving forward, Hite said he doesn't think the problem will impact property values or even the housing boom in the area since there is a solution.

"As long as the EPA continues to move us forward we should see it as just a bump in the road," said Hite.

EPA scientists said the lead problem could be in other areas of Chattanooga as well. So Hite said it's not a bad idea to get a soil test done at any potential home, not just in the Southside.

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