Lead Paint Disclosure/More Info

Lead Paint Disclosure 
Additional Information
Many houses built before 1978 were painted with a lead based paint. Ingesting lead can cause lead poisoning.  The risks of lead poisoning are particularly serious for babies and infants.  Often, small children will eat the lead chips from peeling walls, or inhale dust particles containing lead created when remodeling work is done. 

To help reduce this health risk, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.  This law is jointly administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Pursuant to that law, EPA and HUD approved regulations in 1996 requiring that anyone selling or leasing a residential property built before 1978 make written disclosure about the risks of lead paint before a sale is completed or a lease of the property is signed.  This form is designed to comply with that law. 

What is Covered 
Under the federal rules, "0-bedroom" housing is not affected.  For example, lofts, efficiencies and studios are not covered.  Also, leases of property that will run less than 100 days are not covered.  If a lease agreement runs month to month, the government's view is that it will not clearly be less than 100 days so it is covered.  The rules apply not only to the "living areas," but also to basements, garages, fences, and other items on the property with the dwelling. 

Requirements Under Federal Law 
If the owner is aware of the existence of lead paint or lead paint hazards, or has records regarding either, these must be disclosed.  In addition, the seller or landlord must provide, and certify that the buyer or tenant has been provided, a copy of the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.  A copy of that pamphlet is included in the law topics. You may print that pamphlet from the law topics and use the printed form in compliance with the law, but call the EPA to make sure it is the current version first.  You may also get the latest copy of this pamphlet by calling the Lead Information Center (number below).  In addition, you may retrieve a copy of the pamphlet electronically by EPA's site on the World Wide Web.  The address is: "http://www.epa.gov/". 

The regulations also require that a buyer be given at least 10 calendar days to have the property inspected for assessment of lead-based paint risks.  Pursuant to that rule, the buyer has 10 days to test for lead-based paint.  The owner is not required to pay for the cost of the inspection.  While renters do not get the benefit of this rule, anyone renting residential property is free to negotiate for similar rights. 

Records concerning a transaction must be maintained for at least three years.  Violations of the federal rules may subject the owner to triple damages, as well as civil and criminal penalties. 

State Law
While the federal law does not require abatement (i.e., removal) of any lead based paint, state or local laws may be more burdensome.  Some of these laws require the removal of lead based paint by approved contractors.  Check with your local codes administrator, lawyer or landlord-tenant association to see if you may be subject to additional obligations under local law.  

Lead Information Center  
For more information about the risks from lead paint, call the National Safety Council's Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD (800-424-5323).