Landlords may find themselves paying first, and recovering costs later, when tenants are responsible for hazardous-waste accidents.
"The government is more concerned with quickly correcting an actual or even threatened release of hazardous materials than with who is at fault," said Robert D. Infelise, a partner with the law firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson.
Government agencies may turn to the landlord as well as the tenant when an accident occurs or contamination is discovered, the attorney said.
To avoid trouble, a landlord must be able to prove that he did everything he could to prevent the problem and secondly that the problem was not foreseeable.
Landlords should get a soils report when acquiring property and be diligent in enforcing all lease conditions, the attorney added.