Can I Sue My Landlord for Lead Paint Hazards?

Landlord liability for damages caused by lead-based paint in rental properties.


Can I sue my landlord for lead paint hazards?


The federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (Title X), aimed at reducing lead poisoning, requires landlords to take measures regarding lead-based paint in certain rentals, and imposes hefty penalties when landlords don't follow the law.

Landlords who rent properties built before 1978 must make these disclosures:

  • give prospective tenants (and renewing tenants) the Environmental Protection Agency's form Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home
  • disclose any information they know about lead-based paint in the building (for multiunit buildings, this includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation), and
  • provide a "Lead Warning Statement" as either an attachment to the lease or as part of the lease, confirming the landlord has given tenants all necessary notifications.

Some types of properties are exempt from Title X.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development can fine landlords who knowingly don't follow Title X. (24 C.F.R. § 30.65 (2019).) Landlords who don't comply might also be subject to other civil fines and, possibly, criminal charges.

As a tenant, if you suspect that your rental contains lead, you can get a lead hazard inspection to test your suspicions. When landlords have knowledge about lead but don't disclose it, tenants who are harmed by lead, can sue their landlord for their damages (such as medical costs from lead poisoning). If the court finds that the landlord knowingly didn't follow Title X, the court can award the tenants up to three times the amount of their damages, and can also award court costs and attorneys' fees to the tenants.

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, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers resources to learn 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.

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