Title X Lead Disclosure Regulations

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on September 19, 2006 under Landlord Tenant Lawsuits | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Title X enacted by the American Congress in 1992, requires all landlords to disclose lead hazards on their property to tenants or prospective tenants. Further, in 1996, additional changes made it mandatory for landlords to disclose lead hazards for leased property built before 1978. This law, however, does not apply to landlords offering month-to-month rental agreements or those leasing out their property for less than 100-days.

For owners of property built before 1978, specific regulations have to be followed, and if the property is sold, the presence of lead on the property will have to be disclosed.

First of all, landlords are required to provide tenants with an EPA-approved pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home”, which informs them about the dangers of lead poisoning. Copies of this pamphlet are easily obtained from your state property management agency or can be downloaded from the EPA Web site, as well; the National Lead Information Centre can be called at cb_transparent_lusspacespacearrowspacespacespacespacespacespacespace1-800-424-LEADcb_transparent_r.

In addition, tenants must be provided with a disclosure form informing them of lead paint, or other health hazards that could be directly related to the presence of lead on the property. It does not specify health hazards resulting from lead in drinking water; but, only those dangers arising from lead paint, lead dust, or soil contaminated with lead need to be disclosed.

Title X does not require landlords to disclose, whether any present or past tenants developed lead poisoning. This disclosure is not a part of Title X, since it is difficult to determine the exact causes that lead to lead poisoning. Even if, a tenant is provided with a written lease agreement, federal law requires you to follow the lead disclosure process set down by Title X.

For month-to-month rental agreement, the mandatory disclosures laid down by Title X do not have to be followed, until the terms of the rental agreement are changed for long-term. For example, if a landlord decides to raise the rental amount, he / she will have to make disclosures required under Title X.

If, landlords allow tenants to sub-let, then they will have to educate and inform them about Title X, since the sub-lessor is responsible for notifying tenants, to whom he / she is sub-letting the property.

In recent years, many landlords have inserted liability waivers along with their lead disclosure forms, hoping it will shield them from liability, in case a tenant should experience lead poisoning. But, under Title X, these waivers cannot and do not absolve you of your liability as landlord.

If there is lead paint on your property, a landlord is required to maintain and ensure it does not chip or peel. Good maintenance reduces the amount of lead tenants are exposed to, helping safeguard their health. Request tenants to inform you of any peeling or chipped paint as soon as it is spotted, so that prompt action can be taken.

Renovation can disturb lead paint particles, so if you have plans to renovate a rental property built prior to 1978 that has lead paint, a 60-day notice will have to be issued to tenants before under-taking renovations. This notice is on top of the mandatory disclosures made, at the time your tenants moved in.

Title X does offer several exemptions, including for properties built after 1977 i.e. properties without a bedroom, such as, a dorm room, loft, or studio apartment; housing occupied exclusively by elderly or disabled persons; properties that will be leased for less than 100-days; a property that has been found to be “lead paint free”; and properties where the disclosure has already been made and no further information is available. But, before assuming your property to be exempt from Title X rules and regulations, contact the EPA or your lawyer to be sure.

Remember, violation of Title X regulations carries a rather stiff fine, as much as, up to $10,000 for each violation. If, your tenant happens to fall sick from lead poisoning, monetary compensation of up to three times the amount the tenant suffered in damages will have to be provided by you.

As for landlords, a lot of responsibilities lie with you, including the importance of carefully selecting and screening prospective tenants to avoid problems, later on. For help in suitable tenant selection, visit www.e-renter.com for tenant screening and background check services, the best and only way to prevent expensive litigation, penalty charges or property damage.

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