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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorAs a Rexburg landlord and property owner, it is your task to keep your rental property in a safe and habitable condition. For quite a lot of property owners, this implies accomplishing regular maintenance and repairs. But do be aware, if your rental house was built before 1978, there are several other things that you must incorporate into your property maintenance list. As an example, numerous older homes were built using lead-based paint on interior walls and ceilings. Lead-based paint can be extremely dangerous to your tenants, which is why landlords should be concerned about limiting lead-based paint exposure as much as possible. In the following paragraphs, we’ll mention many of the hidden dangers of lead-based paint in a rental home and what property owners can do to keep their tenants safe from exposure.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was a widely known material used in buildings put up before 1978. Placing lead paint on the walls is not necessarily dangerous unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. As lead paint ages, it becomes toxic to people (especially children) who come into contact with it. The most usual areas for this to occur would be around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, and doors and door frames. For adults, ingesting lead paint flakes or inhaling the dust can lead to a host of health problems, in particular headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. But really, lead paint is especially unsafe to children, resulting in learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow issues. Such health issues can have a harmful and lifelong impact on those really 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 main priority. The risks of lead paint can expand beyond that also. As a matter of fact, in several states, if you knowingly rent a property with lead-based paint without disclosing that fact to your tenants, you could be liable for any associated costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering. Consequently, it’s necessary to identify clearly whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take any appropriate initiatives from there.

If you don’t know whether your rental has lead-based paint or not, the very first thing you must do is have it tested and inspected. Subject to the property’s age and location, it may not be really enough to rely on disclosures provided to you when you purchased the property. Following that, if the lead is detected, you may be legally required to notify your tenants and furnish them with information about lead-based paint and the dangers of exposure.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

Another great solution to remove any chance of exposure is to have the lead paint removed entirely. This option, conceding that it is expensive, is the most permanent long-term solution to the problem. Do not attempt to actually remove lead-based paint yourself; this is work better assigned to the professionals.

If removal and replacement aren’t an obvious choice, you may also choose to encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to prevent any contact with the lead paint. Encapsulation, commonly the more low-cost option of the two, is an approach where a special coating is applied over the lead paint, creating a watertight seal. On the opposite end, enclosure involves covering the existing surface with a new one, such as putting up new drywall over an existing wall or covering window sills with cladding. Conceding that both options may succeed for the time being, if the coating ever wears off or the enclosed surface is removed, the risk of exposure will be very high. You may moreover still need to give disclosures to your tenant with respect to the lead paint, subject to the laws in your area.


At Real Property Management Southeast Idaho, we realize that owning rental properties can present with it some surprising challenges. When complications do come, you need the experience and resources of Rexburg property management experts to walk you through. Contact us online to discover more.

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