What Does Zones of Dewatering Influence Mean?
Decoding and deciphering House Bills can be a bit of a headache. However, how does House Bill 399, Zones of Dewatering Influence, signed into legislation and effective October 1, 2021, affect homebuyers in certain Maryland counties? We’re going to walk you through what this Bill means and how it affects real estate agents as well as homebuyers/sellers.
Breaking It Down
To answer the question ‘What does zones of dewatering influence mean?’, we need to take it back a step and tell you exactly which Maryland counties fall under this legislation. If you live in and/or are buying property within Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, or Washington county, then it is wise to have some knowledge of this bill. Other counties in Maryland as of date are unaffected by this bill.
According to Legiscan, the definition of zones of dewatering influence is an “area around a surface mine in karst terrain”. Karst terrain is simply a unique landform such as a cave, spring, or even a sinkhole. This is caused by a disbanding of soluble rocks. Examples of these soluble rocks include gypsum, limestone, and dolomite. The Maryland Department of the Environment also offers a guide. And we have also included a link to the PDF with Google Earth details of where these zones are in MD.
*Update: Here is a map that shows sinkholes, depressions, etc. and is searchable by address or tax account ID!*
How Does Zones of Dewatering Influence Protect a Property Buyer?
Essentially, a karst terrain can potentially be an undesirable spot for a property. Also, according to Legiscan, when there is a contract of sale of real property in one of these zones and falls within these four Maryland counties, a “purchaser of real property that does not receive the required notice has a right to rescind a contract.” The purchaser thus receives a return of any financial deposits made in the event they were not notified (via this required addendum) that the property was within one of these zones.
In summary, the biggest takeaways to know about the zones of dewatering influence bill is:
- That if a purchaser is notified or receives the required notice before entering the contract of sale, they do not have the right then to rescind the contract based on information received about the notice.
- If a purchaser did not receive the required notice on or before entering the contract of sale, then the purchaser has an unconditional right to revoke the contract (within a specific timeframe).
If you want to learn more about this bill in thorough legal detail, check out this informative summary.