Your Thoughts on Pre 1978 Properties and Lead Paint

14 Replies

I wanted to get your thoughts, idea's and strategies involving investment properties built prior to 1978.  

The lead based paint laws are tightening in Maryland... Do you avoid pre 1978 properties for long term buy, hold and rent?  

For short term rehab is simply painting over the existing lead based paint sufficient? I am under the impression that you only need to provide a waiver and educational information to the new purchaser?  

Thank you for the help.

I'm interested in hearing answers to this too! There is a really good deal in my area on a house but it says in the description that the paint is peeling and it possibly has lead paint issues. 

Everything I have bought as an investment property has been pre-1978.  Very little lead paint was used after about 1950. I heard but have not confirmed that Baltimore or all of MD made lead paint illegal after1950. Nationally it was 1978

Laws have tightened everywhere on lead paint due to the new HUD (Or is it EPA) lead renovation laws. You need to use a lead certified contractor for working on lead paint

However there is no requirement to remove or abate the lead for renovations. You need to give the lead pamphlet and a lead disclosure when selling a pre 1978 property.

Rentals are another story. In MD you need to register the property with Md Dept of the Environment and get a lead certificate. After abut mid 1940s not much lead was used so it may not take much to make a property lead free.  Search the MDE website under LAND for more info. 

I am under the impression that you only need to provide a waiver and educational information to the new purchaser? 

That is about it for your responsibility to the buyer.

Lead paint is a complex subject and I have only touched the surface. Hmmm, another subject I need to blog about. None of the above should be considered legal advice

Originally posted by @Kelly R. :

I wanted to get your thoughts, idea's and strategies involving investment properties built prior to 1978.  

The lead based paint laws are tightening in Maryland... Do you avoid pre 1978 properties for long term buy, hold and rent?  

We avoid any properties built prior to 1978. The chickens haven't even begun to come home to roost on what the EPA did. 

You should be fine.  Don't eat the paint chips.

I'm in Texas. Had a 1961 construction house that came up lead-free. All three of mine are pre-78.

buy whatever house you want relative to lead paint, however, prepare to do what is necessary to achieve lead free certification....aka, rip out and replace all window door casing trim. not the end of the world, just an extra step.

90% of our properties are pre-1978.

No real issue.  Give the pamphlet to renters, have them sign the disclosure form, and don't work on a property with the tenants living there. And don't scrape or sand paint- cover it up with vinyl siding. 

I am fully aware of the dangers of lead and don't worry about buying a older house because when I'm done it will be a safe house. It was hard for me to get all up in arms about lead paint because as kids my brother and I were elected to sand off the old paint and put on the new in several houses.  No known after effects from all hat activity. Plus we did a ton of sanding and repainting of lead paint when we first started to invest in 1955.

Anyway I would like to point out that a home built after 1978 is not a sure thing as to being lead paint free. I know in 1998 I went to an auction of building supplies and there was a ton of lead paint from a warehouse being auctioned off, and bought by a small home builder, I'm sure he didn't buy all that paint just to stack in his garage to look at.

I also liked the lower prices I was able to get because of the paint issue, it added to the profit margin and as I said when I sold, it was now a safe house, we did it right.

Your state laws like ours require a lead certificate for rentals.  The place this gets costly is when you are not planning to replace windows.  To comply with lead laws you have to replace the windows.  Budget for it. Another increased cost is exterior covering. If there is lead in the exterior paint the cost can be greater for the paint/ siding job.

I can't say for flips but if you target families it could be a marketability issue if you don't completely manage the lead.

Check the state laws.  There are disclosures for this.

Thank you all,

As usual the governmental agency grays the lines to make it a difficult decision.

I have dealt with the EPA one time while constructing a new home in Montgomery County. A neighbor several doors down couldn't get satisfaction complaining through the local permit office (I was in compliance) and decided to call the EPA.  She told them I was dumping washing machine water into a sump pump and discharging it into the street.

Mind you this was a new home under construction, i wasn't doing laundry!  Three people showed up with clip boards and a long somewhat heated discussion ensued.  

The EPA people were completely clueless about the county requirements and had no idea how to read the 5 page site and storm water management plans.  No clue about the WSSC plumbing permits and codes. 

That left a bad taste in my mouth and this lead thing just gives me a bad feeling.  

A cautionary tale;

I have an elderly client in MA who's late husband left her several rental properties when he died. She sold them off over the years to be able to pay her own living expenses. The last property she had, she was sued by a tenant that had recently moved in and claimed that her 5 kids got lead poisoning from her apartment. Since she didn't have a lead certificate for the building, the tenant won and now owns the building.  

In this litigious world we live in, you can't take any risks. Make sure you're compliant and have whatever lead certificates you're required to in your state. 

Originally posted by @Derreck Wells:

A cautionary tale;

I have an elderly client in MA who's late husband left her several rental properties when he died. She sold them off over the years to be able to pay her own living expenses. The last property she had, she was sued by a tenant that had recently moved in and claimed that her 5 kids got lead poisoning from her apartment. Since she didn't have a lead certificate for the building, the tenant won and now owns the building.  

In this litigious world we live in, you can't take any risks. Make sure you're compliant and have whatever lead certificates you're required to in your state. 

 That is a shame, I wonder if the new owner is now in compliance with the lead laws? 

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