Lead-Based Paint Issues in Rental Housing
Some of us are full of it and others can't get the lead out!
The first recorded use of lead was more than 5,000 years ago. Romans mined and used the soft, heavy metal in the fabrication of sheet lead and pipe for their elaborate aqueduct systems. They also used lead in wine casks and to fashion metal eating utensils.
Some historians believe that the Romans may have actually fallen victim to their progress and their society's decline may be attributable to massive lead poisoning among the population, particularly among the well-fed.
The basic "Dutch Boy" process for producing "white lead" has been known for centuries. Most of the white lead produced in this country prior to 1977 was used in residential paint. Estimates indicate that as much as 50,000,000 tons of this poisonous substance was applied to American homes prior to its ban in 1978. By contrast, Europe banned the use of lead paint in residences in 1921.
Lead based Paint. The federal government mandated that you begin disclosing known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in your rental dwellings since September 6, 1996, and provide reports containing that information to all present and future tenants.
Landlords must also provide renters a federal pamphlet titled Protect Your Family From Lead in the Home . Home sellers and owners of less than four units are subject to the same regulations.
All leases, rental and real estate sales agreements, must also contain language to ensure that disclosure and notification actually takes place.
The federal government made landlords, sellers and real estate brokers share responsibility under the new law for ensuring compliance. See a sample lead paint lease addendum on our forms page.
In 1992 the US Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazards Reduction Act, which requires landlord and seller disclosure in connection with the rental or sale of pre-1978 dwellings. The law directed the US Environmental Protection Agency and HUD to issue regulations to implement those requirements. EPA and HUD finally issued the regulations in March of this year. You can read the rules on our lead pages.
You can get copies of the regulation and the information pamphlet that must be given to renters of pre-1978 buildings in the RHOL Forms Web or by calling the National Lead Information Center at (800) 424-LEAD. Or fax orders to (202) 659-1192.
States said "me too"
Many state officials jumped on the lead paint issue, some with extreme measures and mandates. Perhaps the worst among them is Massachusetts, but nearly half have some type of state lead paint regulation. Check your state pages for statute citations and information.
EPA Intensifies Enforcement Of Lead Paint Disclosure Regulations
Landlords need to take the Lead Paint Disclosure regulations seriously. The EPA has intensified its enforcement efforts across the entire country and there are a number of cases where fines have already been imposed.
Three Philadelphia landlords have already been fined: William E. Smith for $5,500; Philip and Risa Gerber for $14,850. A third case was filed against another unnamed landlord in Philadelphia on September 30, 1999 with a fine of $9,000. A case was recently settled for about $7,500 involving an Oklahoma property management firm.
Additional fines imposed within EPA Region III, include: Gerald Shields of Erie, PA for $14,300, Jeb Stuart Fries of Baltimore, MD for $44,000, Ray F. Tenalio of Harrisburg, PA for $28,600, and Charles Filbey also of Harrisburg for $10,000.
If a landlord believes that their pre-1978 residential rental properties are "lead free", then it would be to their benefit to have a lead inspection at the property. If the property is certified as "lead free", then the owner/landlord is exempt from the disclosure requirements, and can present the certification to tenants if the tenants ask about lead-based paint in the property.
Lead Links to RHOL Lead-Based Pages:
Other Lead-Based Links: