New York, NY -- How many landlords out there have rented property in the last year without providing the necessary lead disclosure pamphlets? If you have, you are probably not alone, but you may be in for more than you bargained for.
Following the mandate of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, landlords of target housing must provide a copy of the "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" pamphlet to tenants who are either purchasing or renting the prospective property. In Section 1018 of the law, Congress directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the EPA to require the disclosure of lead-based paint hazards before the sale or lease of housing units built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned.
"Failure to provide a purchaser or lessee an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet pursuant to 40 C.F.R. 745.1 07(a)(I) results in a high probability of impairing the lessee's ability to properly assess information regarding the risks associated with exposure to lead-based paint and to weigh this information with regard to leasing the target housing in question," the EPA states.
What this boils down to is that "knowledge is power," and tenants or buyers have the right to know everything about the home they will potentially buy or rent, especially if that knowledge is about health hazards present in the home. The pamphlet offers tips to "protect your family," such as keeping play areas clean, keeping children from chewing on window sills or other painted surfaces, and cleaning up paint chips immediately.
How serious is this lead disclosure requirement? Take into consideration this example from Connecticut: A landlord in Bridgeport, CT recently faced seven "Level 1" violations for failing to provide seven tenants with a copy of the lead disclosure pamphlet. The EPA filed a complaint against the landlord on March 27, notifying him that the agency plans to collect $49,980, which works out to $7,140 for each pamphlet he failed to distribute. Hernandez's total fine for other disclosure violations, such as failing to supply the property's lead history and a "Lead Warning Statement," reached $127,150, payable to the "Treasurer of the United States of America."
If you are a landlord that rents pre-1978 housing, please read this as a cautionary tale. Nobody can afford fines of that magnitude, and it makes sense to do things right the first time through.
The "Protect Your Family" pamphlet is available in our online store, here. Remember, keeping children safe from lead is an important endeavor, and it falls on everyone to make it happen.
Submitted by Greg J., Certified Lead Renovator. Greg is a Primary Instructor and Course Developer at Green Education Services specializing in lead safety training.