Bill Summary for H 834 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

May 4 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 834 (Public) Filed Tuesday, May 4, 2021
AN ACT TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA FROM SINKHOLES CAUSED BY ABANDONED MINES.
Intro. by Logan, Hunt, Insko.

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Bill summary

Appropriates $300,000 in recurring funds and $150,000 in nonrecurring funds for 2021-22 to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to be allocated to the Pre-Regulatory Abandoned Mine Program established below. Allows DEQ to establish up to three full-time positions with the funds.

Enacts new GS 76-69 requiring the Secretary of DEQ to a program for the location, assessment, and notification of threats to the public from land subsidence due to pre-regulatory mines (mine or quarry in the State abandoned before June 11, 1971) from funds appropriated for this purpose. Requires the Secretary to: (1) locate pre-regulatory mines and assess the level of threat they pose to human health and safety, to the environment, and to public or private structures or other improvements to real property; and (2) using a risk-based approach, determine the priority for remediation of the risks of pre-regulatory mines and develop and implement remedial action plans for pre-regulatory mines in the order of their priority. Requires the availability of sufficient funds to pay for development and implementation of a remedial action plan before one is developed. Allows a local government that voluntarily undertakes assessment or remediation of a pre-regulatory mine to request reimbursement from DEQ for costs of assessment of the pre-regulatory mine and implementation of measures necessary to remediate or mitigate risk at the site to eliminate an imminent hazard (as defined by the act); sets out four conditions that DEQ must find before making such a reimbursement. Also allows a private party that voluntarily undertakes assessment or remediation of a pre-regulatory mine to request reimbursement from DEQ for costs of assessment of the pre-regulatory mine and implementation of measures necessary to remediate or mitigate risk at the site to eliminate an imminent hazard; sets out three conditions that DEQ must find before making such a reimbursement. Requires DEQ to report annually to the specified NCGA committee and division on the activities of the pre-regulatory mine program, including specified items. 

Requires DEQ's Pre-Regulatory Mine Program to investigate the occurrence, cause, and monetary damages caused by sinkholes and other subsidence of land on residential structures in the State discovered by the Program incident to its establishment of the priority list of pre-regulatory mines. Requires a report on these findings to the specified NCGA committee and division by December 1, 2022.

Enacts new GS 39-51 to provide that in offering real property for conveyance, rent, or lease, the fact that the real property is located above a quarry, cemetery, mine, or a similar feature is deemed material. Prohibits knowingly make a false statement about the property's location above a quarry, cemetery, mine, or a similar feature. Enacts new GS 47E-4.2 to require the owner of real property to give a purchaser a hazardous land conditions mandatory disclosure statement, as specified, for transfers described in GS 47E-1 (providing that GS Chapter 74E applies to the following transfers of residential real property consisting of no less than one nor more than four dwelling units: sale or exchange, installment land sales contract, option, or lease with option to purchase) and GS 47E-2(b) (transfers involving the first sale of a dwelling never inhabited; lease with option to purchase contracts where the lessee occupies or intends to occupy the dwelling; and transfers between parties when both parties agree not to complete a residential property disclosure statement or an owners' association and mandatory covenants disclosure statement). Requires the North Carolina Real Estate Commission to develop and require the use of a hazardous land conditions mandatory disclosure statement to comply with the requirements of this statute. Effective October 1, 2021

Adds new Part 3, Policies Related to Movement of Earth, Sinkholes, or Any Other Round Collapse, to Article 44 of GS Chapter 58. Enacts new GS 58-44-125 requiring a homeowner's insurance policy to provide coverage against loss caused by movement of earth, sinkholes, or any other ground collapse if any portion of the residential real property is located above a quarry, cemetery, mine, or a similar feature. Specifies that the developer's policy provides primary insurance if, at the time of loss, a developer's policy covers the same risk. 

Adds new Article 47, Sinkholes, to GS Chapter 66. Enacts new GS 66-460 making the following applicable to a property developer when any portion of residential real property is located above a quarry, cemetery, mine, or a similar feature: (1) the developer assumes liability for movement of earth, sinkholes, or any other ground collapse; (2) requires the developer to notify the property contractor, before entering into any real property contract, of the existence of the quarry, cemetery, mine, or other similar feature; and (3) the developer must keep insured each building on the developed property to the extent of no less than 80% of the current insurable value against loss caused by movement of earth, sinkholes, or any other ground collapse.

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