Can I sue my landlord for lead paint hazards?

Landlord liability for lead-based paint.

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Question

Can I sue my landlord for lead paint hazards?

Answer

Federal law (the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, commonly referred to as Title X (Ten)), aimed at reducing lead poisoning, gives some important benefits to tenants, with  hefty penalties for landlords who violate the law.

All property owners must inform tenants before they sign (or renew) a lease or rental agreement, a federally-approved form: Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead Based Paint Hazards. Landlords must also give their tenants the lead hazard information booklet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home, prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Landlords who violate federal requirements to provide the disclosure form and information booklet may be charged a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation, an order to pay an injured tenant up to three times his or her actual damages, or a criminal fine of up to $11,000 per penalty.

If you have not received the required information booklet or disclosure statement, start by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323). Also, check the lead section of the EPA website for extensive articles about lead hazards, testing your child, finding a trained lead inspector, and more

If you, your child, or another person in your rental home becomes ill with lead poisoning, contact a personal injury lawyer for advice on whether or not to sue your landlord for damages such as medical expenses and loss of income. For more on the topic, including advice on finding a personal injury lawyer, see the Nolo article Lead Paint in Your Home.

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