Lead base paint has been an important issue since March 6, 1996, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & Housing & Urban Development (HUD) released the regulations on the Residential Lead Based Paint Hazard Control Act. Property managers and landlords nationwide have worked to comply with the law. Additionally, the Lead-Based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule was invoked, which requires notification to occupants in advance of work that could disturb lead-based paint.
The danger from lead is that adults, children, and even animals can ingest lead by breathing or swallowing lead-based paint dust or by eating lead-contaminated soil or lead-based paint chips.
The law applies to most housing built prior to 1978. Sellers, property owners, and professionals must comply. However, there are exceptions and they are the following:
- Any rental less than 100 days (such as a vacation home)
- Zero-bedroom units such as efficiencies, lofts and dormitories
- Housing exclusively for the elderly
- Housing for handicapped unless children are present
- Rental housing that has been inspected by a certified inspector and found to be free of lead-based paint
- Housing being sold because of foreclosure
- Emergency renovations or repairs
- Minor repairs that disturbs 2 sq. feet or less of paint per component
The general guidelines for compliance by property owners and property managers are:
- Sellers and landlords must disclose known paint hazards and provide available reports to buyers and tenants. If the report is uncompleted, you do not have to supply the report.
- Property managers and property owners must give buyers and renters a federal pamphlet titled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
- Property managers and property owners must include certain language in rental agreements to ensure that disclosure and notification do take place.
- For rental transactions, the property managers and property owners must provide the information prior to accepting an application and complete the disclosure portions of the rental agreement and/or lease prior to renting.
- Prior to any renovation or maintenance, property owners must take steps to notify tenants in writing 7 days in advance of the work to be completed. Landlords must supply the pamphlet, “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” again.
- Lead-based paint contractors now require certification.
They can fine Landlords up to $10,000 for civil and criminal fines for each violation. Additionally, owners can pay up to triple damages in a lead-based paint lawsuit if they knowingly violate the rules. It pays for property managers and property owners to be serious about complying with the laws regarding lead base paint. It is equally important to use vendors who are qualified in handling lead-based paint and the proper disposal of the debris.
As your property management company, we know the importance of complying with this very important legislation. When a tenant rents a property built prior to 1978, we automatically prepare the lead-based paint addendum and give out the required pamphlet to the tenant prior to renting the property. Then, if there is any necessary maintenance needed that requires disclosure of lead-based paint, we contact the tenants and owners in a timely manner with the required notifications before starting work. We only use qualified contractors.
To find out more on lead-based paint visit www.epa.gov/lead for a wealth of free information.