Lead-Based Paint Disclosure for Rental Property
Recognizing that families have a right to know about lead-based paint and potential lead hazards in their homes, Congress directed EPA and HUD to work together to develop lead-based paint disclosure requirements for the sale of older houses and leases of older rental property. These requirements became effective in 1996.
All tenants should be given the proper lead-based paint disclosure form along with other pertinent documents before a lease is signed and dated. This applies if the rental property you are leasing was built before 1978 (see some exemptions below). Make sure all parties sign and date the disclosure as appropriate.
The fines for not complying with this Federal regulation are extremely punitive. Many successful civil judgments against rental property owners have been based, in part, due to the lack of proper lead-based paint disclosure at the time of leasing a property.
What is Required
Before ratification of a lease contract for housing:
- Landlords must disclose known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards and provide ALL available reports to renters.
- This includes past hazards that have been remediated.
- This includes ALL reports for the home, including inspections, risk assessments, and clearance reports. Even if a clearance report is provided, all other previous reports must still be provided. This includes results from do-it-yourself testing and citations from public health.
- All reports must be provided in full. Summary reports are not acceptable, except when a comprehensive summary is provided by the third-party that conducted the inspection. When in doubt, provide the paper.
- It is not sufficient to make the reports available for review. Copies of the reports must be provided to the tenant in advance of signing the lease.
- Landlords must give renters the pamphlet, developed by EPA, HUD, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), titled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.
- Leasing agreements must include certain notification and disclosure language. (Lead Paint Disclosure Form)
- Lessors and real estate agents share responsibility for ensuring compliance.
- The disclosure statement MUST be signed the same day or prior to signing the lease.
- The lead-based paint disclosure form MUST be dated and signed by both parties.
- If a new lease is executed, disclosure must be repeated. Examples of when lead-based paint disclosure must be repeated include adding a new person’s name to the lease or moving the tenant between units. The only exception to this is when the lease is simply renewed by the same tenant(s) for the same unit.
What is Not Required
- This rule does not require any testing or removal of lead-based paint by landlords.
- This rule does not invalidate leasing contracts.
Type of Housing Covered
- Private housing, public housing, federally-owned housing, and housing receiving federal assistance built before 1978. This includes housing where lead-hazards were remediated without full abatement, such as those participating in the City of Grand Rapids Get the Lead Out! Lead Hazard Control Program.
Type of Housing Not Covered
- Housing built after 1977 (Congress chose not to cover post-1977 housing because the CPSC banned the use of lead-based paint for residential use in 1978).
- Zero-bedroom units, such as efficiencies, lofts, and dormitories.
- Leases for less than 100 days, such as vacation houses or short-term rentals.
- Housing for the elderly (unless children live there).
- Housing for the handicapped (unless children live there).
- Rental housing that has been inspected by a certified inspector and found to be free of lead-based paint. There is a difference between free of “lead hazards” and free of “lead-based paint.” The latter means that ALL lead-based paint has been removed and does not include treatment such as covering over lead-based paint with vinyl siding or encapsulant paint.
- Foreclosure sales (aka “sheriff sales”).
Note About RRP Disclosure Requirements
The EPA Renovate, Repair & Painting rule that became effective in April 2010 requires that an additional disclosure be made before carrying out any renovation, repair or painting work that will disturb interior and/or exterior surfaces that contain lead paint.
Keep in mind that RRP disclosure is not the same as that required at the time of the execution of a lease. Some RRP trainers have inadvertently confused this issue. BOTH disclosures are required where appropriate.
Helpful Checklist to Ensure Proper Disclosure of Lead Paint
- Prepare disclosure statement (attached) by filling out the “Lessor’s Disclosure” section.
- Make TWO copies of all reports and documentation. Attach one set of the copies to the disclosure statement to provide to the tenant. Save the other set of copies to file with the signed disclosure statement.
- Secure a copy of Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home (the “blue book”).
- Provide prospective tenant with ALL reports and documentation.
- Provide prospective tenant with a copy of Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.
- Have the tenant initial, sign and date the disclosure statement prior to signing the lease. Make sure the disclosure statement is signed and dated for the same date (or earlier date) than the lease.
- Retain the original copy of the lead-based paint disclosure statement in your files indefinitely. Attach copies of all reports provided.
- If the lease is altered in the future (new tenants added, change of unit, etc.), you must re-disclose.
FORMS Associated with Lead Paint Disclosure
Disclosure: This Knowledge Base article is accurate as of the last update. Laws and policies are subject to change. If you have any questions, please call the office. Click here for contact information.