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LEAD PAINT DISCLOSURES
You may have already read about the effects of lead on the human body and the prognosis is not good at all. This only came into light about 40 to 50 years ago. Today, many condominiums and homes built in the early 70s have used lead-based paints. The paint has since chipped or deteriorated, especially on surfaces like doors and windows that rub together. This makes it essential to make yourself aware of the presence of lead through a lead paint disclosure.
What is a lead paint disclosure?
Because of the danger that lead paint poses, a lead paint disclosure form is important. You should issue this document to all potential buyers and tenants for residential structures built prior to 1978. This type of paint was specifically outlawed by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission back then because of the dangers when the paint chips.
The purpose of lead-based paint disclosure was to serve as a warning any new tenants or owners of the potential presence of this paint within the home’s interior walls. Should a person who lives in an older home witness cracking or chipping of paint, he should inform the proper local authorities right away.
The Lead Paint Disclosure Rule
The US Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 for the protection of families from lead exposure from dust, soil, and paint. It’s now a requirement of the EPA and HUD to disclose any information regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before the lease or sale of houses built before the year 1978.
Apart from issuing a lead paint disclosure form, sellers and landlords must comply with the following rules before performing any ratification of a contract or lease of property:
- Provide to potential buyers or tenants an EPA-approved pamphlet that identifies and controls lead-based paint hazards. You can download these pamphlets in several languages including Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, Arabic Somali, and English.
- Disclose to the buyer or tenant any known information regarding lead-based paints and lead-based paint hazards. It is your obligation as the landlord or seller to disclose any information, like where the lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards are along with the conditions of the surfaces painted with lead paint.
- Provide any other reports and records concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. For buildings with several units, this requirement also includes any reports and records concerning other units and common areas when you obtained this information through an evaluation of the entire structure.
- You should also include a Lead Warning Statement as an addendum or attachment to the lease which confirms that you have complied with the all of the notification requirements. You can insert this warning in the lease itself. You should also provide this attachment in the same language that you used in the other sections of the agreement. Sellers, landlords, agents, and tenants or homebuyers must date and sign this attachment.
- Whether you sell or rent the property, you must keep a copy of the lead-based paint disclosure for a period of no less than three years from the date the lease period begins or the date of sale.
If you plan to sell your home, you should also provide the homebuyers with a 10-day period for conducting a paint inspection on your property or make risk assessments for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.
You may extend this time period on mutual agreement between you and the buyer if there is a need for further inspections. However, homebuyers opt not to take this opportunity to perform an inspection.
Lead paint disclosure guidelines for sellers and lessors
Landlords, agents, rental property managers, and owners should always have in mind the important role of protecting the safety and health of tenants and their families. As mentioned earlier, buildings built prior to 1978 have a higher likelihood of having lead-based paints.
Today, it’s a requirement of Federal Law to provide information regarding lead paint through a lead paint disclosure form before any potential renter gets obligated under lease. As a landlord, you should provide the following to potential tenants of structures built before the year 1978:
- An EPA-approved pamphlet on how to identify and control lead-based paint hazards.
- Any information lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards about the building in question. For buildings with several units, this requirement can include reports and records concerning other units and common areas when you obtained such information through a building-wide evaluation.
- Include a lead paint disclosure attachment to the lease or statements inserted within the lease that contains a “Lead Warning Statement.” This confirms your compliance with all of the notification requirements. You can search online for Sample lead-based paint disclosure in the language you need.
Aside from their business intentions, sellers and real estate agents should also protect the health and safety of the families who would move into the new homes you sold them. You should already know that buildings built prior to 1978 are more likely to have used lead-based paints.
Federal law has made it a requirement to provide information about lead-paint before a potential buyer gets obligated under agreement to buy your home. Under law must, you must:
- As part of your contract, provide an EPA-approved information pamphlet on how to identify and control lead-based hazards.
- Also, attached to the contract or insert language in the contract is a lead paint disclosure form that confirms that you have followed all the notification requirements
- Provide the homebuyer with a 10-day time period for the purpose of conducting a risk assessment or paint inspection for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. Homebuyers can waive this inspection opportunity. Parties, upon mutual agreement, can shorten or lengthen this time period as desired.
Lead paint disclosure requirements and exemptions
All landlords and sellers as a requirement by law, must disclose to the homebuyer or tenant the presence of any lead you’re aware of in a rental property or home through a lead paint disclosure. According to the EPA, here are the steps you must take as a landlord to ensure that you comply with the law. You must:
- Share any information about the existence of lead-based paint in the property. This includes common areas, lounges, laundry rooms, and more.
- Include to the lease, a lead-based paint disclosure attachment or statements in the lease and a “Lead Warning Statement” that lets your tenant know that you have confirmed with all of the notification requirements.
- Keep your lead-based paint disclosure forms for a minimum of three years after the lease agreement.
- Provide your tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet on how to identify and control lead-based hazards.
The lead-paint hazard pamphlet provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development comes in a number of languages. You can also download a Lead Warning Statement in both English and Spanish. Remember that you don’t have to provide such information each time your tenant renews the lease.
This only applies to new tenants ready to sign the lease. Apart from renewals, there are other situations when you don’t have to give a lead paint disclosure including:
- If the construction of your property or unit occurred after the 1st of January, 1978
- If you own a loft or studio unit without any bedrooms
- If you plan to rent out your unit for less than a hundred days.
- If your unit has passed a lead-free inspection performed by a state-certified inspector.
The lead-paint disclosure is an essential aspect of the rental process, especially if you plan to rent to a family with children. Always take precautionary steps by giving your tenants the information they need to give them peace of mind and ensure a safe, happy home.
Issuing a lead paint disclosure
If you intend to put your house in the market either for rent or for sale, and it has been around before 1978, you should understand your responsibilities, especially in terms of the federal Lead Residential Lead-based Paint Disclosure Program. Most of the time for homes built before 1978, compliance with the program is a must. Any violation of the requirements would cost you a hefty fine.
It’s also important that the lead-paint disclosure exists for disclosure only. There is no need to have a pain inspection done before renting or selling. If, for instance, a potential buyer chooses to do a paint inspection that may or may not reveal the presence of lead-based paint, you’re not obligated to remove it.
The main purpose of this disclosure is to notify a tenant or buyer about the potential dangers of lead-based paints. Once you have made and issued the disclosure, you can freely negotiate the cost of the lead removal or reduction if desired.
You as a homeowner of a structure built in the years before 1978 need to comply with federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements if you intend to either sell or rent out your home. Compliance isn’t onerous but is still an essential step so you won’t have to pay fines for non-compliance or worse, having to deal with a lawsuit.
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