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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorAs a Jamaica Plain landlord and property owner, it is your duty to keep your rental property in a safe and habitable condition. For various property owners, this denotes fulfilling regular maintenance and repairs. However, if your rental house was built before 1978, there are other things that you may need to add to your property maintenance list. By way of example, countless older homes were built using lead-based paint on interior walls and ceilings. Lead-based paint can be extremely dangerous to your tenants, which is why landlords should be concerned about limiting lead-based paint exposure as much as possible. Hereinafter, we’ll talk about several of the hidden dangers of lead-based paint in a rental home and what property owners can do to aid their tenants in preventing exposure.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was a very common material used in buildings made prior to 1978. Putting lead paint on the walls is not necessarily dangerous unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. As lead paint ages, it becomes toxic to people (especially children) who come into contact with it. The most widely known places for this to occur would be around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, and doors and door frames. For adults, ingesting lead paint flakes or inhaling the dust can induce a host of health problems, which include headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. Though lead paint is specifically perilous to children, resulting in learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow issues. Such health issues can have a hugely devastating and lifelong impact on those unlucky enough to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint.

Landlord Responsibilities

As a landlord, the health and safety of your tenants should be the first priority. The risks of lead paint actually extend beyond that too. As a matter of fact, in many states, if you knowingly rent a property with lead-based paint without disclosing that fact to your tenants, you could be liable for any associated costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering. This is exactly why it’s significant to detect and know, by all means, whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take any appropriate actions from there.

If you don’t know whether your rental has lead-based paint or not, classified among the first things you ought to do is have it tested and inspected. Contingent on the property’s age and location, it may not be adequate to rely on disclosures provided to you when you purchased the property. Thereafter, if the lead is detected, you may be legally required to notify your tenants and give them information about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

Among the effective ways to eradicate any chance of exposure is to have the lead paint removed entirely. This option, although expensive, is the most permanent long-term solution to the risk or problem. Do not attempt to eliminate lead-based paint yourself; this is a chore that should best be left to the professionals.

If removal and replacement aren’t a possibility, you may definitely also be able to encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to prevent any contact with the lead paint. Encapsulation, the more inexpensive option of the two, is a technique where a special coating is applied over the lead paint, creating a watertight seal. But on the other hand, enclosure involves covering the existing surface with a new one, such as putting up new drywall over an existing wall or covering window sills with cladding. Although both options may work for a time, if the coating ever wears off or the enclosed surface is removed, the risk of exposure will be very high. You may still need to furnish disclosures to your tenant as regards the lead paint, contingent on the laws in your area.


At Real Property Management Boston, we comprehend that owning rental properties can accompany some abrupt and unexpected challenges. When issues do take place, you need the experience and resources of Jamaica Plain property management experts to help you through. Contact us online to know more.

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