Lead-based paints were banned in the United States in 1978 for health and safety reasons after being widely used in homes, stores, offices, and most other buildings. Based on this history, tenants who live in rental properties built before the ban are at risk of exposure to lead. We will discuss the legal responsibilities of landlords and property managers with regard to lead-based paint disclosure so that you can achieve regulatory compliance.
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When is lead-based paint disclosure required?
If your rental property was built before 1978, you will need to submit a disclosure statement to new tenants before their move-in date (with a few exceptions, which are explained below). This disclosure is required regardless of whether you know for certain that lead-based paint is present on the property and even if you have taken steps to replace it with non-toxic paint.
What must lead color disclosure include?
The disclosure form should summarize the federal law (the 1992 Act to Reduce the Danger of Leading Paints in Residential Areas) that laid down the requirement and should inform tenants that houses built before 1978 usually use leaded paints and take them when they are taken Pose health risk. This legal requirement is commonly referred to as "Title X". Use the form to indicate whether you are aware of certain dangers for lead-based paints on the property or not.
Before moving in, the tenant must sign the form confirming that they understand these risks, have received the necessary brochure and have received a copy of all information on known risks for lead colors on the property – including the public areas in addition to the rental unit self.
Which color brochure containing lead should I provide?
Sometimes referred to as the EPA brochure, the environmental protection agency's lead-based color brochure should be made available to new tenants in addition to the lead disclosure form. The brochure entitled "Protect your family from lead in your home" describes the risks of exposure to lead in residential areas and is available in several languages. This brochure was recently updated and contains standards for lead dust that entered into force on January 6, 2020. Make sure to use the latest version.
What if the tenant wants more information?
If you are not aware of any specific dangers to lead-based paints on your property (assuming it was built before 1978), you do not need to examine it for contamination. However, you are required by law to disclose and share all available reports of known contaminants.
If you are unsure whether lead-based paints are available but a new tenant wants more information, you may be asked to have a lead lead inspector inspected prior to signing the lease. In general, you don't have to comply with the request, but you can do so to fill the device. Tenants can also submit color samples to a test facility to determine the lead content. If you have any questions about your legal obligations as a landlord or property manager, contact a lawyer.
Are there exceptions to the disclosure of lead-based paints?
Yes, there are some exemptions from the lead ink disclosure requirement for landlords. Most private and public homes come under this requirement, but exceptions generally include:
- Housing built during or after 1978
- Dorms, lofts and efficiency that don't have separate bedrooms
- Rental units with a rental period of 100 days or less (like most apartments)
- Accommodation for the elderly (unless children live in the unit)
- Accommodation for the disabled (unless children live in the unit)
If you are unsure about the disclosure requirements for your property, contact a lawyer.
How long do I need to keep copies of a signed lead paint disclosure?
As a rule, you must keep these records for three years from the date the rental begins. The signed information provides legal protection in the event that a tenant is harmed by lead poisoning during their stay on your rental property and claims that they have not received lead-based disclosure of colors.
What happens if you do not disclose lead color to a tenant?
Both the EPA and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforce this requirement and occasionally check landlords and carry out on-site inspections. In addition to owners and landlords, brokers and property managers are also liable for this disclosure obligation and can be subject to sanctions for non-compliance.
Failure to comply with disclosure requirements can result in fines of up to $ 10,000 per violation and fines of up to $ 10,000 (and up to one year in prison) per violation. If it is a minor, more technical violation (e.g. using an outdated brochure or an inadequate form), you may only receive a letter explaining the violation and explaining what you need to do to avoid it To ensure compliance. If you find yourself in this situation, a landlord's lawyer can help you.
Can a tenant sue me for non-disclosure?
If you have specific knowledge of lead-containing paint hazards in your rental property but do not disclose them, tenants who are affected by this exposure can sue you. In fact, the court can grant a damaged tenant three times the actual damage plus attorney and attorney fees if it finds that you have deliberately violated the disclosure obligation.
There are some moving parts to renting a property, including different state and local laws. Understanding your rights, obligations and potential liabilities will contribute to the success of your efforts as a landlord or property manager. Be sure to learn about Rocket Lawyer's legal resources for landlords and ask a lawyer if you have specific questions or concerns.
This article contains general legal information and no legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for a lawyer or a law firm. The law is complex and changes frequently. For legal advice, please contact a lawyer.