A Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form is a form given by landlords or property sellers to tenants and prospective property buyers, notifying them of the risk of being exposed to Lead-Based paints. This form is mandatory for any property built before the year 1978. Since lead is hazardous, the lead-based paint disclosure form makes the respective tenants and property buyers aware of the potential risks that exist within their walls. If, for instance, the tenants notice unusual cracking on the wall painting of the old residents, they will report to the local authorities for prompt action.
History of Lead-Based Paints
It is not a secret that Lead-based paints are hazardous to the residents of the United States. Unknown to many, lead-based paints were the commonly used paints as early as the 4th century. However, as time moved by, more and more research started to reveal its effects on human health. For instance, it was known to cause health issues such as anemia, weakness, kidney damage, and brain effects, among others. The most commonly affected population was the children and the elderly.
In 1978, it was decided in the U.S. to restrict the use of Lead-Based paints due to their severe impacts. In 1992, Congress enacted the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act to safeguard individuals living in lead-exposed properties. While it still exists in the old houses built past 1978, the U.S. Government, through EPA, decided to impose a restriction on sellers and landlords willing to rent or sell their old properties. At the moment, before you sell or rent a pre-1978 home, you must first declare if it has lead-based paint.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Laws
According to the U.S. Bills and Statutes, Title 42 U.S. Code § 4852d, federal law requires every home or property seller to disclose known information on lead passed paint before selling or renting the property. This information should include a warning statement about the potential dangers of lead, not only to adults but children alike.
The disclosure should be issued before any lease agreement takes effect. The buyer or renter should also be given a minimum of 10 days to check for lead paint before making a decision. In the meantime, the buyers/renters are advised to read the Lead-Safe Certified Guide so as to learn about safety measures associated with living in lead-based painted residences. If the seller/landlord fails to disclose this information, he/she will face various penalties, including monetary charges, action by the secretary, civil liability, prohibition, or jail term.
Situations Requiring Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Forms
Generally, there are varied situations in which a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form may be required.
In this article, however, we will categorize these situations into two broad categories, as mentioned below:
If you seek to purchase a home or property that was built before 1978, you should be given a lead-based paint disclosure form. Whether you are working with a representative/agent or dealing with the seller directly, it’s their responsibility to issue you with the lead-based paint disclosure form right on time. This will come in handy in informing you of the existence of lead-based paint before you make your final decision.
As a landlord, it’s your duty to see to it that your prospective tenant is aware of the lead-based paint, especially if your rental unit was built prior to 1978. Preferably, you can attach this form alongside the lease agreement form and present both to the tenant to sign. It will not only help you remain safe from the legal fraternity but also help your tenants make necessary measures to avoid being affected.
Lead-based paint inspection
Sometimes, the seller or the landlord may want the property to be inspected and an assessment made on the Lead-Based paint. In that case, the inspector will have to abide by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspection regulations. Also, they can perform lead abatement activities on the property after the inspection. Usually, lead abatement is activities geared towards reducing or eliminating hazards associated with Lead-Based paints. According to EPA, only certified individuals or firms should carry out lead abetment on pre-1978 houses to guarantee the safety of children and other vulnerable occupants. The inspector will therefore be required to enter the following information:
- The name of the firm in which inspection, assessment, and abetment are made.
- The city, state, and zip code of the firm/property
- Certified to work in the named jurisdictions
- Certification number or NAT
Requirements During the Signing Process
The landlord or seller should always sign the lead-based paint disclosure form when listing the agreement.
During this time, the property agent should:
- Remind the seller/landlord that it’s their obligation to disclose any information they have on Lead-Based paint.
- Have clear records, reports, and other data pertaining to the Lead-Based paint on the property.
- Advise the seller/landlord to sign the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form beforehand.
If you are willing to sell or planning to rent your pre-1978 property, there is one thing you can’t get of your mind- Disclosing whether it’s exposed to lead contents. While this is a mandatory requirement, writing a disclosure form can be a bit confusing or time-consuming. However, we are here to solve your problems. We have collected lead-based paint disclosure form templates to ease the work for you. All you have to do is download the templates and start filling.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Responsibilities
Legally, every landlord is expected to disclose all the information they have on lead on their rental properties. In order to remain on the good side of the law, EPA has set a list of requirements that every landlord must adhere to.
That’s said, every landlord must:
- Disclose all known information about the existence of Lead-Based paints on buildings created before 1978. This includes both common and uncommon rooms such as the lounges, laundries, or bedrooms.
- Attach a lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreements. The disclosure form should clearly indicate a warning statement to let renters know of the potential dangers associated with lead.
- Maintain the lead-based paint disclosure forms in their custody for up to a period of three years after leasing the rental property.
- Provide every tenant with EPA-certified pamphlets to make tenants better prepared to identify and control associated lead hazards, should they occur.
- Ensure that all the parties involved in the rental lease assign the lead-based paint disclosure form accordingly. These parties may involve the agents, representatives, landlords, and tenants/buyers. This will help prove that the lead-based paint disclosure form was given and received.
Note that the EPA often conducts regular brokerage audits to ascertain that every landlord and property seller adheres to the set requirements. Therefore, there is no shortcut for this. If you are found to have missed any other above-stated requirements, stance action may be taken against you. Amongst the most important things EPA will look at are the signatures and paperwork. Therefore, as a landlord, always make sure you keep things on the right path. Also, don’t allow the tenant or buyers to shrink their duties by failing to sign the lead-based paint disclosure forms.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Exemptions
There are other situations where the EPA exempts landlords from providing their lead-based paint disclosure.
These exemptions include:
- If the rental unit or property was built after 1st January 1978 till present date.
- If your rental unit is used as a studio and thereby doesn’t have a bedroom inside.
- If your tenant intends to stay on your rentals for a period of fewer than 100 days, such as Airbnb or hotel.
- When your rental unit or property has undergone inspection successfully by a certified state inspector, in other words, your property must be declared lead-free for you to enjoy this right.
We all know the health risks that are associated with lead and its constituents. While lead was a common ingredient used to make paints back then, it is no longer the first priority due to its potential dangers. If you happen to have a home that is painted with lead-based paint, it’s important that you have it inspected, or else you disclose such information to potential buyers or tenants. Use the above given lead-based paint disclosure forms for this purpose.