Landlords are responsible for maintaining more than just the habitability of their properties; they’re also responsible for disclosures on anything that can present a health or safety hazard. One such disclosure is lead-based paint; landlords are legally required to disclose the presence or potential presence of lead-based on their property to inform their tenants of a potential health risk.
What is the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure and Why is it Required?
The lead-based paint disclosure is a form that landlords are required to give tenants when they’re signing the rental lease or agreement prior to them moving onto the property. The disclosure informs the tenant of the presence of lead-based paint whether or not it’s on the property, as well as what they can do to stay safe. The purpose of the disclosure is to assure tenants of their safety.
This is important because of the dangers that lead-based paint presents. For many centuries, the dangers of lead were unknown, and it was commonly added to many products, including paint. The use of lead-based paint has been banned since 1977 for both residential and commercial buildings due to scientific findings showing the health hazards it presents. Lead has been shown to cause seizures, nausea, headaches, fatigue, irritability, kidney damage, and brain damage.
These hazards are even more of a concern when children are living in a home with lead-based paint because they’re more susceptible to being affected by the toxicity of lead than adults. Young developing children are an even greater concern because of the potential of them touching the paint and ingesting paint flakes. Even though the use of lead paint has been banned since 1977, houses that were built before 1978 still have lead-based paint in them.
Lead-Based Paint Laws
The EPA has a specific process that landlords and property managers must follow when disclosing the potential dangers of lead-based paint:
- Provide the tenant with the EPA-approved information about how to identify lead paint and the health hazards it presents.
- Inform the tenants of any information you have about the presence of lead-based paint on the property, as well as areas on the property that you know it was used.
- Provide tenants with a copy of any tests you’ve had done on the property to check for lead-based paint.
- Include a disclosure form with the lease and have all the tenants on the property sign it acknowledging they received it.
- File the disclosure and hold onto it for at least three years following the signing.
What to Include in the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Your disclosure must include the following information:
- A general warning of the dangers of lead-based paint and the laws related to its dangers.
- Disclosure of your knowledge of the presence of any lead-based paint on the property; if you’re unsure, this must also be disclosed.
- Any reports or tests that have been done on the property and what was found.
- An area on the disclosure for the tenant to acknowledge they received the disclosure as well as a copy of the EPA-approved brochure about lead paint.
- A space for the landlord to sign that they provided the required disclosures to the tenants.
Including these aspects to your disclosure will provide proof that you took the required steps to warn the tenants about any potential risks on the property prior to their residence and protect you from the risk of lawsuits should a tenant get sick from the lead paint. Beyond simply protecting yourself, lead-based paint disclosures also educate tenants about the possible risks they may be exposed to.
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