Lead testing

3 Replies

I bought a 3 family house in East Boston and am confused about lead testing and looking for some advice.

One unit is occupied and not renovated.

Two units have been renovated and everything is new.

Appropriate notices were given to the tenants about the renovation and lead safe renovation practices were used by a certified contractor.

My question is about lead testing.

The units have common stairwells and porches.  What is the sequencing for lead testing and who do I call to get it done?

The renovated units will most likely not have lead as they are all new walls, trim etc.  

The common stairwells may have lead.

The outside of the building may have lead.

So what do i test and 

when do i test? and

Who does the testing?

Thank you

Hi William, great question for the Boston market - and hopefully someone will be able to provide some insight soon. 

We're also fairly new to the area and were wondering about the requirements for landlords to have their units lead-free - and how much would a de-leading cost (we've encountered a couple of properties on the market that were not de-leaded).

To the best of my knowledge the only requirements in Mass are that you not rent to people with children under 6 if there is lead in the apartment. 

Since children are a protected class you need to be careful about discrimination.

The real problem is with the children who eat paint, are diagnosed with lead poisoning, and then have parents who sue you.

To me this seems like more risk than I want (maybe it's because I have kids...) but I think getting the tests, and fixing the problem seems to be a small expense. If it makes the deal impossible then I have to wonder if it is a deal or not.

Every "I don't know" lead disclosure I've ever signed came with a list of licensed lead remediation contractors; make some calls and do the math... if the deal works it works, if not, find another.

Hi guys, welcome to the forum!

The laws are kind of confusing to navigate and they're different if there's been a lead inspection on the property in the past or if there never has been one. If you PM me the address, I can check the lead database and see if it's ever been done. I am a MA licensed deleader.

As for the fact that things have been remodeled, that can go either way. If the lead inspector sees work that looks like it was done specifically to pass a lead inspection, the house will be flagged for UD (unauthorized deleading) and it will be a nightmare to get the lead cert. Without a lead cert, you can never get state or federal money (Section 8, CTI, etc). If the house was actually just remodeled for the sake of remodeling (new windows, doors, etc) then you're fine. I can almost guarantee that there will still be lead issues in the newly remodeled apartments. 

The order of things: First you get a lead inspection. (I know an inspector that's good to work with, I can get you his info.) Then the inspector gives you a lead inspection report. I (or someone like me) then take that report and use it to "delead" the building. Working off that report, I fix all the issues that were flagged as not being in compliance. This doesn't mean that all the lead comes out of the house. Most will stay in place, we just have to make it safe. Cost varies greatly depending on the work required. If you have all old windows and doors, they will probably have to be replaced. If the windows are already vinyl replacements, then obviously it's a lot cheaper. There's no way for anyone to tell you the cost of remediation until the inspection is done. 

Once the deleader is done his work and cleaning, there's a reinspection and the inspector takes dust wipes and sends them to the lab. If the wipes come back negative, the tenants can move back in. If the wipes come back positive for lead, then the deleader cleans the unit again. 

You do not have to do the entire building at once. If you have a triple decker and you need the first floor unit done because there's a Section 8 tenant moving in, then just the unit and the first floor areas and up the stairs to the level of the second floor of the common areas have to be done. If it's a second floor unit you need done, then just the second floor unit and the first and second floor common areas need to be done. Only the common areas the children from the unit are going to be passing through need to be done. If the third floor unit is a one bedroom, you will probably never need to delead it as the likelihood of anyone with a child renting it are slim. Unless a weekend parent moves in, then it can become an issue. 

Let me know if I can be of any more help.


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