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What Buyers and Sellers Should Know About Lead-Based Paint

If you’re considering buying or renting a property built before 1978, it’s essential to be aware of your rights concerning lead-based paint or other lead hazards. Understanding the risks, regulations, and responsibilities associated with lead-based paint is crucial for making informed decisions in the buying or selling process.

Read our blog to understand more about lead-based paint, if you can buy/sell a house with lead-based paint, and the rules and regulations for these disclosures. 

What is Lead-Based Paint?

Lead-based paint contains lead, a toxic metal commonly used in household paints for its durability and moisture-resistant properties. However, children and pregnant women (and humans in general) are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of lead exposure. As a result, the use of lead-based paint in residential properties was banned in the United States in 1978.

Health Risks Associated with Lead-Based Paint

Lead poisoning can occur when lead particles are inhaled or ingested. This can happen through deteriorating paint, dust, or contaminated soil. Health risks include:

  • Developmental delays and learning difficulties in children
  • Behavioral issues
  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • High blood pressure and kidney damage in adults
  • Dizziness and diminished motor skills 

After 1978, all residential homes no longer contain lead-based paint. There are certain regulations and disclosure requirements to ensure that homes built before 1978 are disclosed to potential buyers/sellers. 

Regulations & Disclosure Requirements for Lead-Based Paint

red, blue, and yellow empty paint cans with a red triangle with exclamation mark in the middle of it

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established specific regulations to protect homeowners and residents from lead hazards. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 or Title X, enacted a “Lead Disclosure Rule“, under which sellers, landlords, or sales agents are obligated to disclose any known lead hazards. They also need to provide you with the U.S. EPA’s pamphlet, “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.

Sellers must provide any available records or reports regarding lead-based paint or hazards in the property. Additionally, sellers are required to allow 10 days for potential buyers to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment. Then, the seller must include a lead warning statement in the sales contract or lease agreement, and obtain signatures from all parties involved. Before finalizing the sale or lease, the prospective buyer or tenant must sign a disclosure form, acknowledging their understanding of the presence of any lead hazards:

Additionally, Wisconsin has specific statutes and administrative rules for lead poisoning prevention that would also be relevant in this case. Find out more here

What Buyers Should Know

Ask Questions 

Ask about the presence of lead-based paint– especially if you know the property was built before 1978 – during the property viewing and review any disclosed information provided by the seller.

Have a Home Inspection

Hire a certified home inspector or lead-based paint professional to assess the property. This can identify potential lead hazards and help you understand the scope and cost of necessary remediation.

Understand Renovation Regulations 

If you are planning to renovate, be aware of the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule, which requires using lead-safe practices by certified contractors.

Lead Paint Inspection When Buying a House

home inspection typed on paper with a miniature house above clipboard with a lead paint reader gun reading paint cans

When purchasing a home, especially one built before 1978, it’s important to consider the potential presence of lead-based paint. Here are some steps to ensure your safety and that of your family: 

  1. First, hire a certified inspector specialized in lead-based paint to evaluate the property. These professionals can detect the existence of lead-based paint and gauge the risk level. 
  1. Second, look over any lead-based paint disclosure documents given by the seller. They should contain all known data about lead-based paint in the house. 
  1. Third, if lead is detected, understand the inspection report. This report will specify the affected areas and the severity of the hazard, helping you make an informed decision about the property. 
  1. Fourth, based on the inspection results, you might negotiate with the seller for lead hazard abatement, a price decrease, or other concessions. 

Are you looking for a lead hazard abatement service or a lead inspection? Check out the Certified Lead Company List

What Sellers Should Know

Compliance is Key

Ensure you comply with all disclosure requirements (listed in the sections above) to avoid legal consequences. Failure to disclose known lead hazards can result in significant legal consequences.

Be Transparent 

You are required to provide potential buyers with all known information about lead-based paint and hazards. Transparency builds trust and can create a smoother transaction.

Consider Pre-Inspection 

Consider conducting a lead-based paint inspection before listing your property. This can help you address any issues upfront and improve your credibility for the property. 

Can You Really Sell a House with Lead Paint? 

close up of a sellers disclosure form on a clip board

Yes, you can sell a house with lead paint, but there are specific legal requirements you must follow to ensure compliance and protect all parties involved. As a seller, you’re obligated to disclose any known information about lead-based paint and hazards in the house, including any existing records or reports on lead testing or abatement (as stated above). 

If you need more information about selling a house with lead-based paint, please refer to the above section: “Regulations & Disclosure Requirements for Lead-Based Paint”.

Lead Hazard Options 

man in white coat and white hard hat inspecting a door

If lead-based paint or hazards are found, remediation options include:

  • Encapsulation: Coating lead-based paint with a special coating that acts as a barrier.
  • Enclosure: Replacing lead-based paint with new materials, such as drywall.
  • Removal: Scraping or stripping lead-based paint professionally.
  • Replacement: Replacing doors, windows, and other fixtures that contain lead-based paint.

Whether buying or selling a home, understanding the implications of lead-based paint is essential. By staying informed, you can protect your health, comply with regulations, and ensure a smoother real estate transaction. 

At Wall to Wall, we are committed to providing thorough inspections and expert advice to help you navigate this important aspect of homeownership. Contact us today to schedule a home inspection and safeguard your home for the future.

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