What do you know about lead-based paint? Perhaps you know that it's a toxin that's espe-
cially dangerous to children under the age of six, and that even fetuses can be affected since they can be exposed to lead through their mother's bloodstream. Maybe you know that the effects of ingested lead can include permanent nervous system damage, learning disabilities, reduced I.Q., hyperactivity and impaired memory. In extreme cases, exposure to lead can result in mental retardation, convulsions, coma and death. You may even be aware that the manufacture and use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978.
But what you know about the dangers and use of lead-based paint isn't as important to the federal government as what you reveal about the existence of lead-based paint and its related hazards in your property. New regulations jointly promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are now in effect. These require that owners, sellers and lessors of residential dwellings disclose to prospective buyers and tenants whatever is known about the presence of lead-based paintnot only in the individual dwelling unit in question, but throughout the entire property.
Understanding the New Requirements
The EPA/HUD regulations governing lead-based paint disclosure went into effect on September 6, 1996 for residential buildings containing more than four dwelling units and on December 6, 1996 for smaller residential properties. These regulations apply only to buildings built before 1978. The regulationswhich also apply to subletsrequire that sellers and lessors of residential units must disclose to prospective buyers and tenants any known existing lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in both the unit in question and throughout the entire property; and must provide to the prospective buyer or tenant any reports about the presence of lead-based paint in the property, including reports regarding the common areas or a statement that there is no current knowledge of the presence of any form of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazard. This requirement includes records regarding dwelling units other than the unit being sold or leased. The same information must be provided to any real estate broker involved in the transaction.