If your rental property was built before 1978, there could be a toxic substance in the walls, doors and window sills. This toxic substance is lead-based paint and it is a serious problem for you and your tenants. If you are a new landlord or an experienced landlord who isn’t too familiar with lead-based paint disclosures, it’s time to learn what your responsibilities are.
Lead-based paint is one of the most significant hazards that landlords and tenants face when renting older properties. If a rental property has lead-based paint or it is suspected to have lead-based paint, you as a landlord have certain responsibilities to disclose that to prospective tenants. Failure to disclose the proper information can have serious consequences.
Lead Based Paint Disclosure Form For Rental Properties
The links below will provide you with a lead based paint disclosure for your rental property along with a lead paint pamphlet to give to your tenants.
At the time of signing the lease with a new tenant you will want to at a minimum have the new tenant(s) sign the disclosure form. It’s also a good idea to print and them a copy of the pamphlet or at least email them the link and have the tenants confirm receipt via email.
About Lead-Based Paint
Because people didn’t know it was toxic for centuries, lead was added to many products, including paint. Lead enabled the paint to dry faster, resist moisture and wear better.
However, as medical scientists learned about the toxicity of lead paint to humans, the United States banned its use in paint in 1977 for residential properties and public buildings. It was also banned for toys and furniture.
Lead is highly toxic when ingested and can cause health problems, especially for children and the elderly. Lead poisoning can cause seizures, nausea, headaches, fatigue and irritability.
In developing children, lead can damage kidneys and the brain and lead to behavior problems and learning disabilities. People are exposed to lead-based paint by touching lead paint and then their mouth or eating paint chips and flakes. Many homes built before 1978 still have lead-based paint inside.
Known as Title X (ten), a law enacted in 1992 requires landlords to disclose any known lead-based paint hazards within the property to prospective tenants.
Formally known as the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, this law is designed to protect the public from health problems caused by lead paint.
Many landlords don’t understand the specific responsibilities they have in informing prospective tenants about the presence of lead-based paint. According to the law, you must follow a specific process outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before renting out any properties that were built before 1978.
Here are the steps you must take to inform prospective tenants about the presence or possibility of lead-based paint in the rental:
- Provide prospective tenants with an EPA-approved brochure that gives information on identifying and living with lead-based paint. Get it here.
- Disclose any information on the rental property and the presence of lead-based paint, including where the paint is located on the property.
- Share any reports or records of lead-based paint tests on the rental property.
- Provide an EPA-approved lead paint disclosure form as part of the lease that includes a checklist and a space for both parties to sign and date.
- Keep the disclosure form for three years from the day the tenant signs the lease agreement for the rental property.
Failure to follow these steps can mean significant legal trouble for you, such as penalties and fines for each violation. If the tenant suffers from health issues because of lead-based paint, they can sue for damages that result from your failure to disclose. Many courts have already determined that landlords must pay for several times the amount of damages the tenant has experienced.
Rental Property Renovation Disclosures
If you are planning on doing any renovations to a property built before 1978, you must also disclose the presence or possibility of lead-based paint. At least 60 days before the renovation will take place, you must provide your current tenants with lead hazard information. You must give the current tenants a copy of the EPA brochure on lead paint hazards.
The lead-based paint disclosure is a federal law that landlords in all states must comply with. The consequences for failing to disclose lead-based paint are severe, not only for the landlord but for the tenants and their families who may be exposed to this toxic substance.
Do you have any rental properties that were built before 1978? How did you learn about the lead paint disclosure laws? Please share this article and let us know about your experiences in the comments section.