The Real Estate Encyclopedia
Why Is Lead-based Paint Harmful?
Category - Home Ownership Questions - General Home Ownership FAQ's

Lead-based paint was used in home until it was banned in 1978, when it was found to potentially cause major health problems, especially learning disabilities in young children.  


Although the use of lead in some products has been reduced or completely banned, it may still be found in and around older homes.  As a result, federal law requires that a notice concerning the risks of lead poisoning be given to purchasers of housing constructed prior to 1978 as part of a disclosure within the Seller's Disclosure form, required to be completed when a house is listed for sale.   


The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and enabling regulations require action on the part of the sellers, landlords and real estate agents and renovators, disturbing more than two square feet of old paint in houses built before 1978, to ensure that lead-based paint hazards are addressed in the sale and leasing of homes and apartments constructed before 1978.


The law requires disclosure of any lead tests and/or the possibility of the presence of lead-based paint, not testing, removal or abatement.  The buyer, although not the tenant, is given the opportunity to test for lead-based paint within 10 days or any time agreed upon, or the opportunity may be waived altogether.  Real estate agents are responsible for ensuring seller/lessor compliance under the regulations.  There is a burden placed on landlords to contain chipping and peeling paint in older homes. 


Some owners of properties built before 1978 are exempt from the disclosures: housing for the elderly, vacation housing, rental property certified as “lead-based paint free” and others.  Civil penalties can range up to $10,000 for each violation.  For more information visit


Home Buying Questions - Buying Disclosure & Inspection FAQ's
Home Buying Questions - General Home Buying FAQ's
Home Ownership Questions - General Home Ownership FAQ's
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