While lead paint was banned in 1978, it still exists in many buildings across the country. Landlords and owners are legally responsible for notifying their tenants of this hazardous material. However, failure to do so is more trouble than it’s worth.
Take a recent case brought against a Boston landlord by the EPA. He’s facing $84,600 in fines for violations at multiple properties. According to the EPA’s records, the landlord neglected to:
1) offer tenants information pamphlets and reports on lead paint
2) include lead warning statements in leases
3) supply a disclosure statement regarding lead-based paint/paint hazards or lack of knowledge thereof in leases
4) provide lists of records pertaining to lead-based paint/hazards in leases
The federal Disclosure Rule requires that property owners, managers, and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 to provide lead disclosure information to tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase agreements. They also equally share responsibility for maintaining records regarding lead disclosures for up to three years.
Notifying tenants is crucial as lead paint has a variety of negative effects. For example, exposure in young children can cause developmental impairment, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems. Adults can also suffer from difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
"By providing the required lead paint notification to renters, landlords help prevent lead poisoning because then families are aware of potential lead hazards in homes and they can make informed decisions," says Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.
For more information on lead paint disclosure, visit www.epa.gov/ne/enforcement/leadpaint/index.html