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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorPart of your responsibility, as a landlord and property owner in Everett, is to make sure that your rental property is safe and habitable. For most property owners, this means to consider conducting regular repairs and maintenance. There are some things you need to add to your property maintenance list if your rental house was built before 1978. For instance, many older homes had their interior walls and ceilings painted with lead-based paint. As much as possible, landlords should take into account limiting lead-based paint exposure to tenants. The reason for this is that lead-based paint can be extremely dangerous. In the succeeding paragraphs, we will discuss some hidden risks with lead-based paint in the rental home and what property owners can do to prevent tenants from being exposed to it.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was the typical material utilized in buildings made before 1978. Having lead paint on the walls will not pose a risk unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. Lead paint, as it ages, becomes toxic to people (especially children) if they come into contact with it. Around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, doors, and door frames are some common spots where you can see this. People consuming lead paint flakes or inhaling the dust can experience a rise in a host of health problems. Some of these include headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. However, lead paint is especially harmful to children, resulting in learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow problems. These health concerns can have a damaging and lifelong effect on people who are unfortunate enough to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint.

Landlord Responsibilities

The number one priority, as a landlord, should be ensuring the health and safety of your tenants. The risks of lead paint go beyond that as well. In most states, you could be liable for any related costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering, if you are aware you are renting a property with lead-based paint and did not share that information with your tenants. Because of this, it is essential to know without a doubt whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take the necessary steps from there.

If you are not certain if your rental has lead-based paint or not, you should first have it tested and inspected. Depending on the property’s location and age, it may not be enough to place all your confidence in what was disclosed to you during the time you purchased the property. Then, if lead is identified, you may be legally required to inform your tenants and provide them with data about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

One of the top ways to avoid any risks of exposure is to have the lead paint removed completely. Although expensive, this approach is the most permanent long-term solution to the problem. Do not try to remove lead-based paint yourself; this is a task better left to the professionals.

If removal and replacement aren’t possible, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to avoid any contact with the lead paint. Encapsulation, which is commonly the more affordable option of the two, is a process where a special coating is placed over the lead paint, producing a watertight seal. Enclosure, just like putting up new drywall over an old one or covering window sills with cladding, involves covering the old surface with a new one. While both alternatives would work temporarily, if the coating ever fades away or the enclosed surface is removed, the threat of exposure would be great. You may also still need to inform your tenant about disclosures regarding the lead paint, depending on the laws in your area.


We, at Real Property Management Commonwealth, understand that owning rental properties can come with a couple of unexpected challenges. You need the guidance and resources of Everett property management experts to help you when you encounter problems. Contact us online to learn more.

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