Prior to 1978, most homes in the United States used lead-based paint for their walls, doors, window frames, staircases, and other housing elements. However, lead was found to be poisonous and it was subsequently banned for consumer use in substances such as paint.
The federal government then passed a law that requires landlords and sellers of properties constructed before 1978 to disclose the use of lead-based paint in their homes. This law generally encourages accountability on the part of the landlord or property seller. Failure to disclose the presence of lead-based paint can lead to penalties and fines for these parties.
In this article, we will delve into the disclosure of potential lead hazards in real estate. We will also take a look at the new lead brochure by the Environmental Protection Agency and the aspects involved. The main goal is to provide you with an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of property owners and help you better protect yourself and those staying in your units.
The Rights of Home Buyers
As a home buyer or investor, it’s important that you understand your rights in relation to the disclosure of the presence of lead-based paint. Potential lead hazards can occur when lead dust is inhaled by visitors or occupants of the property. This dust is caused by friction between the surfaces with lead-based paint and it can cause serious health complications.
In you are buying an investment property constructed prior to 1978, you are entitled to a number of rights. For those looking to to rent out the property, federal law requires that as the buyer of the property, you must receive the following items from the seller:
- A pamphlet on identifying and mitigating the hazards caused by lead-based paint , approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Any additional known information relating to the presence of lead-based paint or potential lead hazards on the property. In a multi-unit property, this information should also include the common areas as well as other units on the premises.
- An attachment to the contract that includes a “Lead Warning Statement”. The attachment should confirm that the seller has complied with all the requirements for adequate notification.
- A period of 10 days for the buyer to conduct an inspection or to assess the risks of lead-based paint and potential lead hazards on the property. This period may be shorter or longer if there is a mutual agreement between the parties in writing. The property buyer also has the right to waive this opportunity for inspection.
The Responsibilities of a Landlord
The landlord of a property has a responsibility toward the tenants and their families to protect their health. Under federal law , the landlord is required to provide certain information relating to lead-based paint or potential lead hazards to their prospective tenants.
Since buildings that were constructed prior to 1978 have a higher likelihood of having lead-based paint, landlords are required to provide the following important information:
- A pamphlet approved by the Environmental Protection Agency containing information on how to identify and control potential lead hazards.
- Any known information on the use of lead-based paint or the presence of potential lead hazards on the premises. This includes records and reports for common areas as well as other units in a multi-unit property.
- An attachment to the lease agreement that discloses the presence of lead-based paint or potential lead hazards. This should include a “Lead Warning Statement” and it should also confirm compliance with all the requirements for adequate notification.
The New Brochure by the Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a brochure titled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home”. The EPA stated that this brochure is meant to help people identify the dangers of lead in their homes and to find ways of protecting their families from lead-based paint hazards.
This brochure outlines certain factors as follows:
Implications for Landlords
For landlords, the federal law states that they are required to disclose to the tenants the hazards of lead-based paint. Landlords are instructed to:
- Disclose to the tenants any concerns about potential lead hazards
- Provide tenants with updated information material that is approved by the EPA
- Provide records on any potential lead hazards and the measures taken to mitigate the damage
General Legal Implications
This new brochure also replaces the previous one, making it invalid. Landlords are urged to ensure that their leasing procedure complies with the 2021 EPA brochure and not the outdated one. Failure to comply with the new brochure in the disclosure of the presence of lead-based paint may result in fines, and penalties.
Additional Issues Addressed in the New Brochure
The 2021 brochure has certain new provisions for the disclosure of lead-based paint hazards. Some of the additional issues addressed include:
- The sources of lead
- How exposure to lead can affect your health
- How to protect yourself from potential lead hazards
- How lead gets into a person’s body
- Identifying lead-based paint and the potential hazards involved
- How to renovate and repair with lead-based paint
- Checking your home for lead
- Steps for lead testing
The Bottom Line
Lead-based paint can cause severe health issues if the lead dust makes its way into the human system. It’s therefore very important that landlords and property investors adhere to the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines on lead-based paint disclosure. These guidelines are meant to help protect the occupants and their families from the potential hazards.
At Rollingwood Management Inc. , we understand the importance of staying updated on various legal requirements in the real estate industry. We have a team of professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in all the aspects related to property management.
If you require assistance with managing your property , don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We have the tools and expertise to help make your real estate investment a success and land you long-term tenants !