The federal Residential Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (U.S. Code Sec 4852d), commonly referred to as Title X (Ten), is aimed at evaluating the risk of lead poisoning in housing and taking steps to remove the hazards. Since houses constructed before 1978 are likely to contain some source of lead, be it lead-based paint or lead pipes, Title X is focused on these older properties. If your home was built before 1978 (unless it’s a foreclosure property sold “as is”), you must take the following steps.
Selling a house or condo built before 1978? Here are your responsibilities to disclose lead-based paint and other sources of lead to prospective buyers.
Buyers typically include contingencies in their offers specifying what conditions must be met before the real estate deal will be finalized. Contingencies typically allow a buyer to conduct inspections (which may be a general inspection or a specific lead-based paint inspection) and to back out of the agreement if the buyer doesn’t like the results or can’t agree with the seller on how to deal with needed repairs.
Sellers who fail to comply with federal disclosure responsibilities may be sued by the buyer for damages suffered (these may be quite hefty, especially if young children have developed a lead-related health problem), among other penalties (over $10,000, depending on the violation). See Nolo’s Lawyer Directory for local lawyers who handle these types of lawsuits (check the Personal Injury) category.
See the Nolo article Lead Paint in Your Home for an overview of health hazards resulting from lead hazards in the home and personal injury lawsuits that may result.
The National Lead Information Center (NLIC) is the best resource for information on lead hazards, prevention, and disclosures. You also get information here on certified lead inspectors.
In addition to complying with federal lead-based paint disclosure rules, be sure you comply with your state’s disclosure requirements (see the Nolo article Required Disclosures When Selling U.S. Real Estate).
Many states have lead-based paint activities of interest to home buyers and sellers. To find yours, check the EPA website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has useful information on state programs and legislation. See the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead for details.