Wednesday, August 29, 2012

RENTAL HOME LEAD PAINT DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS: ARE YOU COMPLYING?

 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) require that renters receive known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards during sales and rentals of housing built before 1978. The government requires that renters  receive specific information on lead-based paint in the housing as well as a Federal pamphlet with practical, low-cost tips on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards. Landlords, and their agents will be responsible for providing this information to the renter before lease of the rental home.

 As a practical consideration the requirements are only likely to be enforced if a tenant complains to the EPA or HUD, or worst case scenario someone who lives at your rental home gets lead poisoning. On the other hand, compliance is not difficult, it could possibly save someone from injury, and if someone where injured in the string of rental homes they lived in, showing that you complied may insulate you from liability.

There are also very specific requirements for remediation of the home where lead based paint is present, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

WHAT IS REQUIRED (Basics):

Before ratification of a lease:

* Sellers and landlords must disclose known lead based paint and lead-based paint hazards and
provide available reports to buyers or renters.

* 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.

* Lessors, and real estate agents share responsibility for ensuring compliance.

WHAT IS NOT REQUIRED:


* The rule does not require any testing or removal of lead-based paint by sellers or landlords.

TYPE OF HOUSING COVERED:


Most private housing, public housing, Federally owned housing, and housing receiving Federal assistance are affected by this rule.

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.


SPECIFIC LANDLORD VIOLATIONS:

* Failure to provide information/pamphlet.

* Failure to disclose presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.

* Failure to disclose to each agent the presence of any lead-based paint, or lead based paint hazards, and the existence of any available records or reports.

* Failure to provide any records or reports.

* Failure to include, as an attachment to (or within) the contract, the Lead Warning Statement.


* Failure to include, as an attachment to the contract, a statement by the lessor disclosing the presence of known lead-based paint, or lead-based paint hazards.

* Failure to include as an attachment, or within the contract, a list of any records or reports available to the lessor that pertain to lead hazard information, or the failure to indicate that no such list exists.

* Failure to include in the contract for lease a statement by the lessee affirming receipt of the information and the lead hazard pamphlet.

* Failure to include in the contract as an attachment, a statement by one of more of the agents involved in the transaction, that the agent has informed the lessor or the lessor's obligations and that the agent is aware of his duty to ensure compliance.

* Failure to include in the contract for lease, signatures of the lessor, agent, and lessee certifying to the accuracy of their statements, as well as dates.

* Failure to retain a copy of the completed disclosure records for no less than three years from the completion date of the lease.

PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY:

EPA and HUD both ,may seek civil penalties through a civil administrative action in circumstances where the violation is more serious. Egregious violations include, in general, failure to satisfy the requirements of the Regulations where the housing being sold or leased contains lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards and is occupied or to be occupied by a pregnant woman or child under the age of 6 years. A Civil Administrative Action is initiated by preparation of an administrative complaint, which includes the penalty to be imposed. Before the penalty becomes final the violator is entitled to an administrative hearing on the matter.

The base amount of the penalty assessed for a violation is based on the nature, circumstances and extent of harm which may result, and may range from $110 to $11,000. Multiple penalties may be imposed where there are several violations in a single transaction. The base penalty amount is adjusted (upward or downward), based on factors such as the violators ability to pay, the history of prior violations, the extent of the violators culpability (that is, the extent to which the violator had knowledge of the requirements of the Regulations and/or had control over the conditions), whether the violator voluntarily reported the violation, and other factors as justice may appear to require.

LEAD DISCLOSURE FORM:

You may click here to get a copy of the required disclosure from from the EPA.

LEAD PAMPHLET ONLINE:

You may click here to get a copy of lead pamphlet.


FURTHER INFORMATION:

 * For specific questions about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at (800) 424–LEAD, or TDD (800) 526–5456 for the hearing impaired.

 * The EPA pamphlet and rule are available electronically and may be accessed through the Internet here.

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