Lead-Based Paint Mandatory Disclosures
As a landlord, you play a role is ensuring the health and safety of the tenant renting your home. You'll need to take added steps and precautions to protect your tenant and comply with all federal laws. If your home was build prior to 1978, it may contain lead paint, which can be potentially hazardous. Failing to disclose this information to your tenant is illegal and could land you in hot water. Complying with federal rules and regulations isn't complicated, but many landlords simply aren't aware of the requirements.
Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also referred to as Title X, you're required to disclose known lead paint information if you're renting out a house built prior to 1978. If you know for a fact lead paint wasn't used, you're in the clear. However, if you're unsure or you suspect lead paint, you must inform the tenant and follow the HUD Notice Requirements. Before your tenant signs a contact you must:
- Give your tenant an Environmental Protection Agency approved information packet that identifies and explains how to control lead-based paint hazards.The EPA explains lead poisoning and the potential dangers of exposure, including a range of cognitive and developmental defects in children, even death. The most commonly used information pamphlet is the EPA's "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home."
- Notify the tenant where the lead paint is located in the home. Let him or her know the condition of anything painted uses lead-based paint.
- Provide any records of the lead-based paint that may have been discovered during a building evaluation or home inspection.
- Insert a "Lead Warning Statement" as an attachment to the lease to confirm you complied with all necessary notice requirements. You and the tenant must both sign the statement. You'll need to maintain this form as part of your records for at least three years from the date the tenant signs the lease.
Rules for Renovating
When you plan to renovate a home built prior to 1978 and you have a current tenant, you need to provide him or her with a lead hazards warning at least 60 days before the work begins. This is a requirement under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1999. It's important to note the EPA has its own definition of the term renovation. The EPA defines a renovation as anything that disrupt the painted surface. Emergency and minor repairs are the exceptions. You'll also need to give the tenant the EPA pamphlet "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home." If it's a building renovation affecting common areas, you'll need to provide the notice and pamphlet to each tenant. In addition to the lead notices, landlords may be liable for tenant health problems that can result from exposure to hazards, including asbestos.
Failure to Comply
If you fail to comply with the EPA regulations, you can face fines and penalties up to $16,000 per violation, as of 2015. In addition to the hefty fees, you run the risk of a civil lawsuit if the tenant finds out you failed to disclose the home contained lead. If you're found liable for your tenant's injuries resulting from the lead-based paint, you may be forced to pay up to three times what the tenant suffered in damages, which can include medical bills and lost wages.
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