The sale and use of Lead-based paint were banned in 1978 in the US. However, most homes built before 1978 may still have lead, and it is not easy to know unless you test.
It is the responsibility of the seller to disclose their knowledge of lead paint if present. This is a legal requirement, and it should be done before buyers sign the buying contract.
If you are planning to buy or sell your home, you should know all the legal requirements involved in the process. This article will provide you with all the information you need to know about lead-paint disclosure.
Does a seller have to disclose lead paint?
Yes, it is the seller’s responsibility to disclose the presence of lead paint to the buyers before signing the contracts. The law requires the seller to inform the buyers of their knowledge of lead-based paint presence.
The seller must provide your buyers with all the reports concerning lead hazards on the home, both in the interior and exterior. The EPA provides a form for filling in this information, and you can easily download the form from their website.
After filling the EPA form, the seller must provide the buyer with this pamphlet on the hazards caused by lead. The seller should give the buyers ten days to do their own tests and assessments. This period may be waived, shortened, or lengthened upon the buyer and seller’s mutual agreement.
Can you sell a house with lead paint?
Yes, you can sell a house with lead paint as long as you follow all the state requirements. You cannot possibly tell whether a home has lead paint until you do a lead test. If you already know that the house’s interior or exterior has lead, you must ensure you inform the buyer before closing the sale.
Most agents recommend painting over the old lead paint because the process of removing lead may not be worth it. More so, you may expose yourself and other people to the lead if you do not wear the right gear. Repainting a home with lead is by far the best solution, according to most agents. So, you can sell a house with the lead provided you inform the buyer and conduct all the precautionary procedures.
Do you get a better sale price removing the lead paint first?
Yes, you will definitely get a better sale if you remove the lead-based paint before selling the house. According to the ‘IZA Institute of Labor and Economics,’ you can get approximately $2.60 for every $1 you spend on lead remediation.
Lead can be removed by professionals who have the knowledge and experience to handle the project. If you would like to DIY the project to cut on the removal costs, you must ensure you follow all the instructions. The most important thing is to contain the dust and paint chips as these may be hazardous when not handled safely. Moreover, you must have the right gear for the job to protect yourself.
If you are not sure of the process, it is best to leave the job to the professionals.
Although the removal will cost you, you will not go through the hassle of removing the paint. Also, you will have peace of mind, and you will not risk exposing yourself or your loved ones to poisonous lead dust.
Should you buy a house with lead paint?
There is absolutely no reason not to buy a home because of lead-based paint. If the house was built in 1978 or before, chances are it has lead paint unless it has been renovated or restored over the years. Once the seller notifies you of the presence of lead paint, you can still go ahead and buy the house if it is in perfect shape.
If the old layers of paint are not disturbed, you will not worry about lead. So, as long as you maintain the house well and repaint it after every few years, you have nothing to worry about.
If you really like the house and you have concerns about the lead, you can arrange for it to be removed by professionals. You can agree on a reasonable price for the home if you are paying for the lead removal or request the seller to do it beforehand.
How do you find out if a house has lead paint?
If a home was built before 1978, there are high chances it has lead-based paint. It cannot be easy to tell whether a house has lead paint unless you test it. If you notice that the paint’s sub-layers are present on the surfaces, this may indicate the presence of lead paint. However, to be 100% sure, it is advisable to test the surfaces.
A risk assessor or inspector can test your home for any risk hazards. The tests are carried out on a specific area or all the surfaces of the house. There are numerous certified inspectors you can hire to do the job for you. You should, however, be very smart when choosing one to ensure you hire the best fit for the job.
To find an inspector or risk assessor near you, you can visit the EPA website for leads. If you wish to buy a home soon, you can include a lead-based paint test in the inspection.
Who is exempt from lead-based paint disclosure?
Homeowners and landlords with homes built before 1978 must meet the federal requirements of lead-based paint disclosure. However, there are several exemptions to lead paint disclosure. These include:
- Dwelling units that do not have bedrooms, such as studio apartments.
- Rental houses tested and approved to be lead-based paint-free by a certified assessor or inspector.
- Short-term rentals leased for 100 days or less are exempted from lead-paint disclosure.
- Units specifically set aside for the elderly do not need lead-paint disclosure as long as children are not residing on the premises.
If your units fall in this category, you may be exempted from the lead-based paint disclosure. If not, you must follow all the legal procedures before selling the property. Failure to observe the regulations may land you in serious issues with the law.
How do you complete Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form?
You cannot take shortcuts when it comes to government compliance. You must disclose to the buyer the presence of lead paint before signing contracts or closing the deal. Below are the steps you should follow when completing the lead paint disclosure form.
1. Provide the buyer with the EPA pamphlet
You should provide the buyer with the Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home pamphlet. This document is usually printed by the EPA and is separate from the LPD acknowledgment form.
The LPD form has a place for the buyer to acknowledge that they have received the EPA pamphlet. This may be the only evidence that you have given the buyer the pamphlet because you will not find any other acknowledgment on the SPD.
2. Disclose all known information
Ensure you disclose all the information you know about the lead paint and provide records if any. This information is critical, and it should be truthful.
3. Include the completed LPD form in the Agreement of Sale
The disclosure form is not required in every transaction, and it is not designed to be used as part of the Agreement of Sale. It is, however, essential to include the disclosure form to ensure the buyer and the seller are on the same page. The disclosure form should include a Lead Warning Statement provided by a certified inspector.
4. Signing and dating the disclosure form
All the parties involved, including their agents, must sign and put a date to the disclosure form. This is to certify that the seller has provided appropriate information. Fines could apply if the paperwork lacks signatures or is incomplete.
Lead paint disclosure laws by state
Below are links to lead paint disclosure laws by state.
How much does it cost to de-lead a house?
The average cost to de-lead a house is $3,328, with a range of $1.546 to $5.634. Expect to pay about $800 on the low end and $11,500 on the high end. You can pay more than $10,000 to eliminate the lead from your home.
The lead abatement costs vary depending on the size of the home, location, and severity/complexity of the problem.
The average cost to remove lead-based paint is between $8 and $17 per square foot. Full removal of the paint may range from $15,000 to $25,000. Lead paint is the most common lead exposure in homes. Ensure you hire certified professionals who use the right materials and know-how to handle the paint safely.
There are various direct and indirect cost factors you should consider before initiating the process.
Direct cost factors
- Prepping the worksite
- Testing and disposal
- Different kinds of the affected areas
- Labor costs
- Storing the toxic waste materials
- Cleaning the affected areas after removal
- Evacuating the premises
Can you just paint over lead paint?
Yes, you can paint over lead-based paint. You must, however, follow the instructions and safety protocols when painting to make sure you cover all hazardous surfaces. Painting over lead-based paint is called encapsulation, and it is an effective remediation technique used by most homeowners.
Encapsulation is cheaper than removing the lead paint, and it is a very safe method because it does not release poisonous lead dust or debris into the environment. This process cannot be done with the regular paint because it will not be effective. So, oil/water-based paints are not fit for encapsulation because they are not encapsulants.
A professional with in-depth knowledge about lead paint removal and repainting will know the best paint to use. If you want to DIY the project, ensure you consult a professional first.
Do you need to de-lead exterior lead-based paint?
It is not necessary to de-lead lead-based paint exterior before repainting. You can remove the deteriorating paint carefully and safely, but it is unnecessary to de-lead paint that is still intact. If the house is in good shape and the exterior paint is still intact, you can paint over the old paint without de-leading.
Lead is a significant hazard, but it is not harmful if it is not disturbed. All sellers should disclose the presence of lead paint in the home to their buyers to protect them from harm. If lead abatement must be done, it is best to let professionals do the work.