Lead Paint and You

Wow, we had a lead paint class that sure got agents talking and NERVOUS.  We want to clarify a few important points that may have gotten lost in the scary message of Liability:

The 6 Things Sellers / Real Estate Agents Must Do

  1. Tell the buyer about the dangers of lead paint.
  2. Tell the buyer anything known about lead in the home. Remember that inspections are all public record and can be searched online: Lead Safe Homes
  3. Tell the buyer that, under the Lead Law, if a child under 6 will live or continue to live in a home built before 1978, the owner must have the home either deleaded or brought into Interim Control within 90 days of taking the title.
  4. Provide all pages of the lead paint property transfer notification form, not just the signature page. On the certification form, the buyer must attest they have received the preceding informational pages, make sure they do!
  5. Provide a copy of any: Letter(s) of Compliance, Risk assessment report(s) or Lead inspection report(s)
  6. Sign, and have the buyer sign, the certification page of the Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification, which contains a checklist to ensure that the buyer has been fully notified of the requirements of the Lead Law.  8 minute video on how to property fill out the form

If you do those things, you have done the very best to minimize your liability if there is lead exposure to a child in the future.

Some Important Facts Every REALTOR should know:

    • Everyone should be aware of the online search for any lead inspection history filed on a home (address search) on the Mass.gov Lead Safe Homes page. What would a judge say about liability if lead poisoning occurs and it is later discovered that the property had a public inspection report filed and the professionals never checked the registry?
    • The level of lead in a child’s bloodstream that is considered dangerous is continually being lowered – so once 10 micrograms per deciliter was considered dangerous, but now that number is only 3.5 micrograms, according to the CDC. Also note that pediatricians are routinely testing children at wellness visits for lead exposure. They are required to report findings of lead poisoning in any child.  It is important that you follow the law and the steps above to make sure buyers are aware of their responsibility for the safety of children who reside in a home – because you’ve shared the importance of taking safety measures as part of the process!
    • Waiver of lead testing or inspection CANNOT be the basis of a seller accepting one offer over another, because there can be claims of fair housing discrimination against families with children.
    • To follow both state and federal requirements, you must provide a CORRECTLY COMPLETED Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification to a prospective buyer before signing.  Make sure to take very special care with this form. Remember to check out our 8 minute video on how to property fill out the form and where we address common mistakes.
    • If a buyer backs out of an agreement and the presence of lead is noted, seller’s agents have to have their seller’s re-do the lead disclosure and upload an amended copy to the MLS listing.
    • We all know an agent should never recommend that a buyer forgo a home inspection due to liability … it’s even more important that buyers are not dissuaded from a lead inspection either.

Good News!

    • Berkshire MLS members are likely ahead of others because our MLS requires a lead disclosure if home is built before 1978.   This allows buyers to be informed right up front and can incorporate it into the pricing and inspection process.
    • There is a very helpful “Lead Safe Contractor Checklist” you can provide to your buyer clients that will help them in the general renovations to their future home.
    • Interim control options and de-leading requirements are far different from they used to be. There are many alternatives and options to keep the cost much lower than in years past. As many lead inspectors will point out, some of the older inspections on file mention many surfaces that no longer need abatement under current guidelines.

Ultimately, agents and brokerages can rest easy if they followed the above guidelines and made sure buyers were informed and empowered to protect the children that may reside in the home from the dangers of lead.