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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorIn Locust Grove, as a landlord and property owner, you should make sure to keep your rental property habitable and safe. Regular maintenance and repairs are what most property owners conduct. However, there a few other things that you need to include in your property maintenance list if your rental house was built before 1978. A handful of older homes had lead-based paint in the inner walls and ceilings. Lead-based paint can be hazardous, which is why landlords should be concerned about reducing lead-based paint exposure to their tenants. In the next sections, we’re going to talk about some of the hidden risks of lead-based paint in a rental home and what property owners can do to protect their tenants from exposure.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was the usual material used to create buildings before 1978. Unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust, having lead paint on the walls will not necessarily be dangerous. Lead paint, as it ages, becomes toxic to people (especially children) who are exposed to it. Some areas where this can be usually seen are around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, and doors and door frames. If an adult ingests lead paint flakes or inhales the dust, it can lead to a host of health problems. This includes headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. Lead paint causes learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow problems. It is especially harmful to children. There can be damaging and lifelong effects on health for individuals who are unfortunate 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 surpass that as well. As a matter of fact, if you knowingly rent a property with lead-based paint without divulging that fact to your tenants, you could be liable for any related financial expenses of treatment and additional damages, such as pain and suffering, in most states. Due to this, it is important to understand if your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take any appropriate steps from there.

If you are unsure if your rental has lead-based paint or not, you should have it tested and inspected. Just basing off of the property’s age and location may not be enough to trust the information given to you when you bought the property. Then, if lead is seen, you may be legally required to notify your tenants and give them facts about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

A key option to eliminate any chance of exposure is to have the lead paint removed altogether. This method, while being expensive, is the most permanent long-term solution to the matter. Professionals are best left with the job of removing lead-based paint, so do not attempt to do this yourself.

If removal and replacement are not an option, you may also encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to hinder any contact with the lead paint. Commonly, the more inexpensive option among the two is encapsulation. It deals with putting a special coating on top of the lead paint, so it creates a watertight seal. The other option, enclosure, involves covering the existing surface with a new one. This is just like putting up new drywall over an old wall or covering window sills with cladding. While these two options may work temporarily, if ever the coating does wear off, or the enclosed surface is gone, the chances of exposure will be extremely high. You may also be required, depending on the laws in your area, to provide disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint.


Becoming an owner of rental properties can come with a few obstacles. We, at Real Property Management Anchor, recognize that. When problems come up, you need the experience and resources of Locust Grove property management specialists to see you through. To learn more, contact us online.

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