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Landlord Liability - Environmental Hazards

Lead paint and lead in water

If your rental property was built after 1988, the landlord has little to worry about as far as lead disclosures are concerned. Rental property built between 1978 and 1988 may require the landlord to make certain lead disclosures.  But if your rental property was build before 1978, the landlord is required to have his tenant sign an Environmental Protection Agency lead based paint disclosure form.

Rental properties built before 1988 raises concerns that it was possible that lead-based soldering materials were used to connect copper pipes during this time.  The law presumes that rental properties built before 1978 has lead concerns and so requires the landlord to make mandatory disclosures.

What you need to know

The law does not require the landlord to do any testing or actually determine whether the rental property, regardless when built, has lead problems. You are only required to disclose what you know about the lead in paint or pipes.  If you know of an actual risk, you are required to disclose it to the tenant.  You will be deemed to know, for example, if the prior owner disclosed to you about any lead issues. 

If you are unaware of any actual lead concerns, the law requires that you provide the tenant will copy the Environmental Protection Agency booklet entitled Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home To All Of Your Tenants.  

Be advised that if the landlord fails to provide a lead based paint disclosure or copy of the booklet, as required, the landlord may be liable for penalties, including fines of over $10,000 per failure to do so.

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