Lead in Real Estate Part 1: Lead Issues when Selling or Buying a home in DC, VA, or MD
The Summary of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976-
The TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of lead-based paint. This act was the first substantive federal implementation of regulations aimed at disclosing to the general public the potential for household materials and products that might contain lead. However, the Act did not prohibit any uses or applications.
1978 A Pivotal year-
1978 became the first year that US law specifically prohibited the use of lead in paint. As a result of this legislation, a standard was subsequently imposed on any owners of homes that were built on or before 1978 to disclose to prospective purchasers or renters of those homes the factual known presence of lead paint, and whether or not the owner has ever received any reports of lead paint in the home.
The Federal Lead paint disclosure is required to be signed by owners, sellers, purchasers, or tenants whenever a home constructed before 1978 is sold or rented. REGARDLESS of whether the property owner is represented by or working with a real estate Brokerage or not.
In additon the EPA handbook is also required to be distributed to the buyer or renter prior to taking possession of the property. Additionally any contractor disturbing more than 2 square feet of any painted surface area of a pre-1978 home is also required to give you the booklet.
The booklet can be downloaded at the EPA Website www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadpdfe.pdf
Failure to satisfy the lead based paint disclosure requirements can render ANY sales contract or lease voidable under the law. Good luck arguing that out in court!
The penalties by law for non-compliance are severe, as they should be.
EPA states that fines and penalties can include:
- $37,500 per occurance
- Triple damages
- Criminal prosectution is possible.
New Regulations regarding homeowners and contractors engaging in property renovations are also in place. Contractors, and renovating property owners are particularly liable for compliance under new regulations imposed by EPA.
Contractors, and home owners disturbing 6 square feet or more of painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes must be EPA Lead Certified.
Additionally, any renovation project on a home which disturbs 6 square feet or more in a pre-1978 home must include a certification inspection, and full abatement compliance report, and full disclosure to subsequent buyers, or tenants who will occupy the property in the future, as to the presence of lead paint in the home and whether any lead surfaces were disturbed in the process of renovations.
See these links for more information:
- rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices
- Read EPA's Regulations on Residential Property Renovation at 40 CFR 745.80, Subpart E.
- Information for Property Owners of Rental Housing, Child-Occupied Facilities
- Related Notices, Final and Proposed Rules, and Background Information on EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule