What are the EPA Requirements if You Lease or Sell Housing?
Lead in paint and the health hazard posed by exposure through inhaling or swallowing lead-based paint prompted Congress to pass a federal lead based paint disclosure form requirement in 1996, called the Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program, or Title X. A landlord or property owner's need for a real estate disclosure or lead based paint disclosure form will depend on several factors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - EPA - establishes the disclosure laws governing housing that contains lead-based paint. Under EPA guidelines, only housing units built prior to 1978 are required to include a disclosure form about lead paint in order to comply with real estate disclosure laws when selling your house or leasing rental housing.
Who Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Laws Apply To
- A landlord is required to disclose information about paint with lead he or she is aware of on a form about lead paint prior to the tenant gaining occupancy. A rental agreement must attach a disclosure form on lead based paint.
- A seller is required to disclose information her or she is aware of on lead paint and lead base paint hazards prior to selling a house. Lead disclosure forms that explain the hazards of paint with lead must be included in the home sale contract. Buyers have a right of inspection for lead hazards for a 10-day period.
- Sellers, landlords, and real estate agents share the responsibility for compliance with disclosure requirements.
- Certain situations involving renovations.
What Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Laws Require
- Under federal EPA and lead disclosure rules, a lessor or seller of private or public housing built after 1977 must use a lead paint disclosure form to disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint dangers or hazards. The landlord or seller is required to document where any lead-based paint or lead paint hazards exist, and the overall shape of the painted areas (chipped, peeling, etc.), and make these records available.
- A seller or landlord must include a disclosure with warning statement about lead and affirm that the seller or landlord has provided all necessary lead disclosure information. This attachment is to be provided in the same language used in the rest of the contract. The must be signed and dated by sellers or landlords, real estate agents, along with homebuyers or tenants.
- Sellers are required to allow buyers a 10-day period to conduct a paint inspection or have a lead abatement expert brought over to check for lead in paint. Seller and buyer may mutually consent to lengthen or shorten the inspection time period, and buyers can agree to waive a lead inspection and lead test.
Exempt Property Under Lead Based Paint Disclosure Laws
- No-bedroom units, such as efficiencies, lofts, and dormitories.
- Vacation or short-term rentals under 100 days in duration.
- Housing for senior citizens (with the exception of those with children living there).
- Housing for the physically disabled (with the exception of those with children living there).
- Rental housing that has been inspected by a certified inspector and found to be free of lead paint.
- Foreclosed property for sale.
LEAD PAINT FAQs
I have heard that you should furnish a lead paint disclosure form to prevent a housing hazard while selling a property. Is it true?
Lead disclosure rule refers to a provision in the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act passed by the Congress in 1992. Section 1018 of this Act directs HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to require the information on lead based paint and lead based paint hazards which is known by anybody who is selling or leasing housing built before 1978 to be disclosed. Houses built before 1978 may contain lead in paint which is hazardous to health. The above agencies jointly issue regulations requiring necessary disclosure regarding paint with lead, upon the authority vested under the Act.
Is the lead paint disclosure rule mandatory?
The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also referred to as Title X, providing for lead paint disclosure, was enacted to guard the public from lead hazard exposure. According to this rule, it is mandatory to provide buyers or lessees of a house built before 1978 with disclosure of information on lead-based paint used in the property. Paint lead is extremely hazardous to human health. The disclosure ensures that buyers and lessees of housing built before 1978 get information necessary to start lead abatement measures to guard themselves and their dear ones from exposure to lead-based paint hazards.
I wish to sell my house built before 1978. What are the things that I should disclose to the purchaser?
If you are a seller or a lessor who intends to sell your house or offer your house for lease which was constructed before 1978, you must disclose any lead-based paint and/or lead based paint hazards in the housing that you are aware of. Your lease agreement packet should include a disclosure form about lead- based paint that might have been used in the construction or renovation of the house. Other examples of documents you may need to include is a pamphlet by the EPA and lead hazard evaluation reports relating to lead based paint or lead-based paint hazards on the premises. A lead paint disclosure form should be filled out to prove that all requirements under the disclosure laws were complied with. You should also furnish signed statements to the effect that disclosures made have to be retained for three years. Additionally, if you are a seller, while selling your house you are required to give a 10 day window to purchasers for conducting a lead test on the house. Sample lead disclosure forms, also known as lead paint forms, or lead based paint forms, are available for your reference.
I wish to purchase a house. What rights do I have under the disclosure laws?
Under the disclosure laws, also known as disclosure property laws, the purchaser and the lessee have the right to be privy to all information regarding any lead base paint used in the house built before 1978. Thereby, they get specific details of the house's lead history. The mandatory pamphlet provided to them gives information on lead exposure prevention. The purchaser has the right to conduct a test for lead before entering into a contract for sale with the seller of a house. In case of a possible hazard, you might have to consider a process of lead abatement. A purchaser gets a period of 10 days for inspection and such a period may be extended or reduced by mutual consent between the parties. However, this opportunity is restricted only for sale transactions. A lessee may negotiate with the lessor to give an opportunity for inspection before entering into a rental agreement.
Are there any consequences if a seller or lessor fails to comply with the real estate disclosure rule?
Yes, if a seller, lessor, or agent does not provide proper information with regard to lead based paint, they can be sued for damages. In such a case, substantial damages may be awarded in a private civil suit. Moreover, they may also be liable to civil and criminal penalties. If you provide lead based paint disclosure forms to purchasers and lessees it will help to avoid misunderstandings during the transactions.
I wish to sell my house. Is it mandatory to provide an EPA pamphlet to the buyer?
It is mandatory for sellers and lessors to provide buyers and lessees with this pamphlet containing information about possible lead hazards. The EPA pamphlet named 'Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home' is a federally approved lead hazard information pamphlet. It provides you important information to help you know when lead-based paint is hazardous and how to protect your home and get it checked.
Does the paint disclosure rule cover all types of housing?
Paint disclosure rule is applicable to almost all housing built before1978. It is applicable to private and public housing, including housing receiving federal assistance and federally owned housing. Housing affected by this rule is referred to as target housing. Those housing which are not affected by paint disclosure rule are 0-bedroom dwellings, housing units rented out for 100 days or less, housing for the elderly and the handicapped, and housing certified by an inspector to be free of lead-based paint.