In 1992, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act– or Title X– was passed by congress.
The purpose of the Act was to protect American families from lead, what had since been identified as a harmful chemical, including substances which often contain lead.
Most notably, lead within:
- Dust, and
Where this applies to landlords and property managers is in Section 1018, which requires the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to disclose information on the known hazards of lead-based paint.
Specifically, this applies to the sale and lease of properties built before 1978.
Why 1978? That was the year the federal government banned the consumer use of lead-based paint (with some states banning it even earlier than that).
With the historical context out of the way, let’s get straight to talking about how this impacts your process as a landlord or property manager:
Lead-based paint disclosure
As a landlord or property manager, you’re responsible for being a good caretaker not only of your property but for your tenants as well.
In this case, the health of your tenants and the potential risk that lead-based paint poses to both adults and especially children.
Properties built before 1978 likely have one or more older layers of lead-based paint, so you’ll need to make sure to give your new tenants several items to comply with lead-based paint disclosure laws.
Those items include:
1. EPA-approved pamphlet
First, you need to provide a copy of the EPA, HUD, and CPSC’s pamphlet: Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).
2. Property-specific information regarding potential lead hazards
In addition to the official pamphlet, you need to send property-specific information so the tenant understands the potential risks related to that property.
This includes information such as records, reports, or inspections regarding lead-based paint or related hazards related to the property itself, including multi-unit properties.
3. Lead warning statement
Lastly, you need to provide a lead warning statement in one of two forms.
You can place it clearly within your lease contract or as a lead disclosure attached to the lease itself.
In either case, it needs to state you have complied with all federal regulations regarding lead-based paint hazards.
This text must be included as part of the statement:
“Every purchaser of any interest in residential real property on which a residential dwelling was built prior to 1978 is notified that such property may present exposure to lead from lead-based paint that may place young children at risk of developing lead poisoning. Lead poisoning in young children may produce permanent neurological damage, including learning disabilities, reduced intelligence quotient, behavioral problems, and impaired memory. Lead poisoning also poses a particular risk to pregnant women.
The seller of any interest in residential real property is required to provide the buyer with any information on lead-based paint hazards from risk assessments or inspections in the seller’s possession and notify the buyer of any known lead-based paint hazards. A risk assessment or inspection for possible lead-based paint hazards is recommended prior to purchase.”
Such disclosures are important for purchase agreements as well.
Additional responsibilities: Keep records
In addition to the three above items you must provide to your tenants, you’ll need to keep a copy of the lead paint disclosure forms you’ve provided to your tenants for up to three years from the lease start date.
What if you don’t send your lessee or buyer information and follow all required guidelines about lead-based paint disclosures?
There are several potential violations according to the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.
- Monetary penalty: According to section 3545 of the Act, “Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this section shall be subject to civil money penalties…”
- Action by Secretary: A general statute, this states that the Secretary is authorized to take any lawful action necessary to enjoin a violation of this section.
- Civil liability: According to the Act, “Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall be jointly and severally liable to the purchaser or lessee in an amount equal to 3 times the amount of damages incurred by such individual.”
- Costs: In the event of a civil action, a court may award court costs, attorney fees, and expert witness fees to the winning party.
You can read more about the specifics regarding lead-based paint disclosure law and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act at: 42 U.S. Code § 4852d - Disclosure of information concerning lead upon transfer of residential property (Cornell University).
When to use a disclosure
Based on the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, both sellers and lessors are required to provide a lead-based paint disclosure in the event of any sale or lease of a property.
If you’re a landlord or property manager, make sure to check the previous section to fully understand everything required to properly notify your prospective tenants.
Lead-based paint disclosure PDF
The official lead-based paint disclosure form created jointly by the EPA, CPSC, and HUD is available online, and is short and straightforward:
To download a copy, see: Free Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Forms on eForms.
Or, you can access the form directly as a PDF along with the official disclosure PDF here: Official lead-based paint disclosure form and PDF.
Legal matters like the lead-based paint disclosure might not be exciting, but they’re an important part of being a good landlord to your tenants.
Plus, it’s important to stay on top of proper landlord tenant laws to make sure you’re running your business properly to avoid trouble.
To learn more about lead-based paint disclosure rules and guidelines, see these official resources from HUD, the EPA, and the CPSC (and more):
- Official joint disclosure form from HUD, the EPA, and the CPSC: Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home
- HUD: The Lead Disclosure Rule | HUD.gov
- EPA: Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards
- Cornell university: 42 U.S. Code § 4852d - Disclosure of information concerning lead upon transfer of residential property