Lead Paint

Lead Paint

Lead Paint

For any landlord with rentals constructed before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead paint. In fact, it is still present in millions of homes, often times under layers of new paint according to the EPA. However, if the paint is in good shape, then there is nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if there is a lead-based paint hazard it must be addressed.

Back in June of 2018, HUD announced a department-wide campaign to enforce lead paint safety rules in single-family homes and multifamily properties. That’s because lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause health problems. It can also lead to brain damage and damage to other vital organs. For these reasons, it’s important to know the law and learn how to prepare for a renovation the right way.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice…

Lead Poisoning

Lead is not only a highly toxic metal that can cause a range of health problems when absorbed into the body, it is also known to cause behavioral problems. From learning disabilities to seizures, in extreme cases lead poisoning can also cause death. Symptoms of lead poisoning include stomachaches, headaches, nausea, tiredness, and irritability. What’s worse, when a child has lead poisoning they often have no symptoms. For all of these reasons, it is not surprising that federal, state, and local laws regarding lead-based paint are extensive.

Lead Paint

Lead-Based Paint: Federal, State, and Local Laws

As rental property owners, your role in protecting the health of your tenants and their children is important. The federal law requires you to provide certain important information about lead paint before a prospective tenant is obligated under a lease to rent from you. This includes, an EPA-approved pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint, any known information concerning lead-based paint hazards, and a lead-based paint disclosure.

For multi-unit buildings, reports and records concerning common areas and other units when such information is a result of a building-wide evaluation is a requirement. Some states provide their own disclosure laws for lead-based paint (here is California’s). And, here in San Diego, renovators are required to use lead-safe work practices when disturbing lead paint. Moreover, when the work activities disturb or remove the paint, then a Lead Paint Activity Visual Inspection Form must be completed.

Lead Hazard Prevention and Control Ordinance: San Diego

The Lead Hazard Prevention and Control Ordinance is a San Diego ordinance to eliminate lead hazards. And, prevent lead poisoning through lead-safe housing and to ensure lead-safe work practices. It requires renovators to use lead-safe work practices. Rental property owners must correct lead hazards in pre-1979 buildings after notice of lead hazard. The City of San Diego also enforces the EPA’s RPR Rule, which regulates renovation, repair, and painting work for compensation in pre-1978 homes when known or assumed lead-based paint is present.

Lead Paint Removal: Tenant Safety During Renovations

Common renovation, repair, and painting activities that disturb lead-based paint (like sanding, cutting, replacing windows, etc.) can create hazardous lead dust and chips. All of which can be harmful to adults and children. For this reason, federal regulations require renovators to give tenants information about lead hazards before renovating rental units or common areas in pre-1978 buildings.

Remember, as a rental property owner, you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety your tenants and their children. This means you must properly prepare for a renovation and keep people out of the area while doing so. We have listed a summary (click here for a more in-depth explanation) below of the EPA’s guidelines for preparing for a renovation:

Preparing For A Renovation:

  • Accessibility: while you perform work you may need to seal or block off rooms/areas
  • Plan: you may want to move your tenants out temporarily while you perform work
  • Contain: work area(s) so dust and debris do not escape
  • Avoid: renovation methods that generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust
  • Clean: up thoroughly
  • Learn: how to renovate right by reading the EPA’s handbook

Lead Based Paint Disclosure

According to the EPA, Federal law requires you to provide certain information about lead paint before a prospective renter is obligated under a lease to rent from you. This means you must include a lead disclosure attachment to the lease, or language inserted in the lease. Additionally, the disclosure must include a “Lead Warning Statement” and it must confirm you have complied with all notification requirements. Here is a sample lead-based disclosure.


Homes and other buildings built before 1978 are likely to contain lead paint. As a result, renovation, repair, or painting work done in these properties could release hazardous lead dust. This can be harmful to you, your residents, and their children. For this reason, it is a wise investment of your time to become better acquainted with laws. For this reason, you may want hire a property management company to help you.

At Rancho Mesa Properties, our partner who is a Lead-Safe Certified renovator can help you with your renovations using lead-safe work practices. Proper work practices can protect the people in buildings, especially children, from this dust. Contact us today at (858) 576-2176 to learn more about our renovation services.