A few years ago the EPA encouraged banks to use Phase I reports, with an ASTM standard system to give landowners, investors and banks an opportunity to limit their environmental liability. By using a Phase 1 (not an abbreviated scan), the law allows a person to protect himself with the "innocent landlords defense" from liability. http://www.environment-solutions.comspecializes in Phase 1, 2 and 3 reports.
The ASTM and EPA standard has become more intense in 2010 and 2011 because for government guaranteed loans and SBA loans on properties such as convenience stores, gas stations, day care centers, and dry cleaners additional requirements must be met and the environmental firm must have professional engineers on board to show credentials to qualify for the government loan guaranty.
Environmental Solutions and Certified Environmental Inspectors have done over 1000 environmental Phase I reports and have qualified staff and engineers on board with them.
The reason to use the Phase I is to of course see if the property has a reported violation of environmental law that might hurt humans. The second reason is that if a bank makes a loan on such a property of over $100,000 the examiners must see an environmental report in the file, otherwise they will critisize the loan.
The third reason is simply, that many investors simply beleive that a clean environment is good living and good for everyone.
Check out your properties, if you don't have a clean bill of health, you may be exposing yourself to massive liabilities, for clean up, and to indemnify if someone is hurt, or becomes ill because of your pollution.