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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorBecause you are a property owner and landlord in Smithfield, it is your responsibility to keep your rental property safe and habitable. Regular maintenance and repairs are what most property owners conduct. There are some things you need to add to your property maintenance list if your rental house was built before 1978. To cite an example, numerous older homes were made with lead-based paint on their inner walls and ceilings. As much as possible, landlords should take into account limiting lead-based paint exposure to tenants. The reason for this is that lead-based paint can be extremely dangerous. The next paragraphs are going to talk about the hidden hazards of lead-based paint in the rental home. It will also provide insight into how property owners can help their tenants avoid exposure.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Lead-based paint was the usual material used to create buildings before 1978. If your walls have lead paint, it’s not necessarily dangerous. However, it becomes hazardous when the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust. If a person (especially children) comes into contact with aged lead paint, it would be toxic. Some areas where this can be usually seen are around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, and doors and door frames. For older individuals, consuming lead paint flakes or inhaling the dust can result in a host of health problems, including headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. However, lead paint is especially harmful to children, resulting in learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow problems. Those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves exposed to lead-based paint can have problematic and lifelong health issues.

Landlord Responsibilities

As a landlord, the health and safety of your tenants should be the first priority. The risk of lead paint goes beyond that as well. In fact, in most places, if you deliberately rent a property with lead-based paint without sharing that information with your tenants, you could be liable for any related costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering. With that, it is necessary that you, without a doubt, are aware that your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and that you take the needed steps from there.

If you are not certain if your rental has lead-based paint or not, you should first have it tested and inspected. Depending on the property’s location and age, it may not be enough to place all your confidence in what was disclosed to you during the time you purchased the property. Then, if lead is found, you may be legally required to inform your tenants and give them information 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 remedy, while costly, is the most permanent long-term solution to the problem. Do not try to remove lead-based paint yourself; this is a task better left to the professionals.

If removal and replacement aren’t possible, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to avoid any contact with the lead paint. Generally, the more affordable option among the two would be encapsulation. This process involves applying a special coating over the lead paint, which creates a watertight seal. On the other hand, an enclosure covers the old exterior with a new one. This is just like putting up new drywall over an existing wall or covering window sills with cladding. While both choices may temporarily work, if ever the coating does wear off or the enclosed exterior would become detached, the possibility of exposure will be very high. You would also still need to give disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint, in accordance with the laws in your area.


Becoming an owner of rental properties can come with a few obstacles. We, at Real Property Management Dominion, recognize that. You need the guidance and resources of Smithfield property management experts to help you when you encounter problems. Contact us online to learn more.

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