Lead is a hazard that many real estate property managers will face at some point in your real estate career. Homes and other properties built before 1978 likely contain lead-based paint, which means that repair, renovation, or painting work done on these buildings could release hazardous lead dust which can be harmful to your clients. It’s important for you to recognize the dangers that lead-based products pose in the properties you manage. Read on for a list of procedures that can help you stay compliant with Lead-Based Paint Disclosure requirements.
Conduct a ‘First Meeting’
Start with the first meeting between the owner of the property and the property manager. You can use this meeting in order to establish what disclosures will be required between you and your client. During this meeting, it is important to distinguish whether or not the property was erected after January 1st, 1978. If so, there will be no lead-disclosure requirement since lead-base paint was not produced and distributed after that date. However, as a safety precaution, always assume the construction is pre-1978 unless otherwise verified.
Ask the Owner
Ask your client if they have any actual knowledge of lead in the home from prior tests, renovations, or disclosures from other persons. If you have one, this is a good time to pull out a lead-based paint disclosure pamphlet and go over the tenant disclosures required by law. If your client can’t remember, suggest that they look for their paperwork from when the home was purchased.
Sign the Disclosure
Make sure your client reads and understands the disclosure form. If possible, have your client check the appropriate boxes in their own handwriting. Once your client signs the disclosure, make sure that you keep the original and make copies when meeting with future tenants. This ensures that you always have the original disclosure available for the next tenant. It is also important that you periodically check with your client to see if they have any new information to add to the disclosure.
Explain the Purpose of the Disclosure
When sitting down with a new client, take time to explain the purpose of the disclosure. Clients tend to gloss over documents during lease signing for they are excited to move into their new home. However, it is your responsibility to ensure they have the information. You should file a signed copy of the disclosure with your client acknowledging receipt in their file. If there are any additional changes to the disclosure, they should be included on a new copy of the disclosure with a new signature from your client along with the current date.
Here is a short checklist to ensure compliance:
- Verify when the property was built.
- Verify whether testing or other disclosures about the property are available.
- Have the owner sign the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure.
- Copy the disclosure for future clients.
- Ensure your client receives the disclosure and a copy of the EPA’s pamphlet “Protect your Family from Lead in your Home.”
- Periodically check with your client to see if any new information needs to be added to the disclosure.
For more information on lead-based paint disclosure requirements, check out Lead Paint for Property Managers: How to Stay Compliant.