Although the sale and distribution of lead-based paint were banned in 1978, the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 37 million households in the U.S. still contain lead-based paint. For landlords in Massachusetts, it is their sole responsibility to identify and remove lead-based paint from the premises if renting to families with children under the age of 6. If not, there can be hefty fines and legal consequences.
Dangers of Lead Paint
Lead paint was once known for its affordability and durability, but the toxicity of this now-banned paint grossly outweighs its benefits. Large quantities of lead can be lethal, while smaller quantities can impact early childhood development, cause behavioral health issues, and affect vital organs. Though lead is most prominent in homes built before 1978, it can also be found in pipes, dust, or soil.
Who Is Liable?
In the state of Massachusetts, the landlord is solely responsible for identifying lead on the property, warning people about the risk of lead exposure, and removing the lead. This is mandatory for all structures built before 1978 where children under the age of 6 reside. Landlords cannot refuse to rent properties to families with children, especially those under the age of six, because of the presence of lead paint. Instead, they must delead all lead-based hazards from the premises. Failure to comply can result in discrimination charges, hefty fines beginning at $10,000, and other legal consequences.
Legal Documents and Deleading the Property
To start a full comprehensive inspection of the unit and all the common areas to the unit will need to be conducted by a licensed lead inspector. If the inspector does not identify any lead hazards after this comprehensive initial inspection you will receive a Letter of Full Initial Compliance. If the inspector does find lead hazards during the comprehensive initial inspection then the landlord would need to hire a licensed person to do the lead paint abatement. Once the abatement is complete and the work and dust wipes pass a Letter of Full Deleading Compliance would be issued.
A Letter of Interim Control can be issued for a property alos. A Risk Assessment would also need to be performed with the Comprehensive Initial Inspection. The Risk Assessment would identify the urgent hazards, i.e. loose, chipping, or peeling paint. For Interim Control you only need to address the urgent hazards. A licensed person must do the work and once it is complete and passes a reinspection a Letter of Interim Control will be issued and will be good for 1 year. After 1 year another reinspection must occur to certify the property is still in Interim Control status and the letter will be certified for a 2nd year. After the 2nd year, if there is still a child under the age of six residing at the property, full abatement of all hazards will be required to bring the property into compliance and receive a Letter of Full Deleading Compliance.
If you own property in the Boston area and suspect there is lead-based paint on the premises, reach out to ASAP Environmental, Inc. to schedule a lead paint inspection with our certified inspectors. Call us today at 800-349-7779 or schedule an appointment online.