If you rent a property that was built before 1978, you need to know about the Residential Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act. Not only does that link tell you about the act itself, it has a wealth of important information about the damage that lead based paint can cause. Lead poisoning can cause significant lifelong disability for those it impacts, and it’s vital that all landlords and property owners be aware. In a recent lawsuit, paint companies who produced the pre-78 paint in California had to pay over 1 million for removal and renovations. Guess who they said was to blame for the issues with lead paint poisoning? That’s right- property managers and landlords.
“The decision rewards scofflaw landlords who are responsible for the risk to children from poorly maintained lead paint, and it conflicts with and threatens to upend California’s lead poisoning prevention programs, which work,” Bonnie Campbell, a spokesperson for the sued companies states, “This decision is more likely to hurt children than help them, and it will likely disrupt the sale, rental, and market value of all homes and apartments built before 1978.”
Whoever is to blame or is not to blame for the original lead paint issue aside, there are things that you can and must do as a property manager if you have a property that was built before 1978.
According to the act, though, property managers and landlords are responsible for:
Providing tenants with a federally approved pamphlet on preventing lead poisoning. You can find it here.
You must have tenants sign a disclosure form that says they received the pamphlet. You should keep these forms for 3 years or more to prove compliance with the act.
If you want to know more about the various requirements, you can find them at HUD’s website, here. If you are renovating, there are additional requirements involved- the renovators you hire, or if you choose to do it yourself: must be certified and must follow very specific guidelines to prevent contamination.
For more information on what you as a property manager may be responsible for in homes and other facilities built prior to 1978, please visit Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right– the EPA’s Lead Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Repainting Program. You’ll find valuable information that you need to be a responsible landlord or property manager for these properties.