Disclosing Lead Based Paint in Your Rental Property

Posted by Teresa on June 12, 2009 under Landlord Paperwork and Forms, Landlord Tenant Lawsuits | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

leadLead-based paint can be a real problem for owners of older properties. Although lead in paint was banned in 1978, it could still present in older rental units. The paint itself is not a health hazard until it cracks, peels, or turns to chalk with age. And sanding or scraping it releases lead dust, which is a serious health hazard, especially to young children.

As a rental property owner, you should be aware of lead paint dangers and required disclosures. Most states have lead hazard reduction laws in place; some require testing and careful maintenance.

The federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 covers dwellings built before lead paint was banned in 1978 and requires rental housing owners or their property managers to notify tenants that the property may have lead-based paint.

Under the federal law, property owners are not currently required to test for lead-based paint or to remove it; but you must disclose any known presence of lead-based paint and provide all tenants with copies of records pertaining to the presence of lead-based paint.

Landlords are also required to provide an information brochure prepared by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.” This brochure is available online or you can request printed brochures from the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 800-424-5323.

Certain other dwellings are exempted from the federal law:

  • Housing for the elderly or persons with disabilities (unless there are children under age 6 living in the house)
  • Short-term (100 days or less) rentals
  • Certain university housing
  • Studio or efficiency units
  • Housing that has been inspected and certified “lead free”

You can always contact the EPA or your local health or environmental agencies for information specific to your area. If you are advised your property is exempt, get verification in writing for your records.

Keep a copy of your tenant’s signed disclosure form for three years. You only need to make the disclosure once, even if the tenant renews an existing lease.

If a landlord fails to follow the federal regulations, and a tenant does not receive required EPA or approved state disclosures, the owner or property manager may be subject to serious fines and penalties. The EPA and HUD are enforcing these regulations, so follow the laws and minimize your risk!