Lead Based Paint: What it Means for Your Disclosure Form

Water damage, structural issues, and repairs are common disclosure issues we think of right away. What may not immediately come to mind is your paint. Any home built before 1978 could contain lead-based paint, which can cause multiple health problems for those unfortunate enough to be exposed.

Failing to disclose if your home has lead-based paint can become a serious liability when selling a home, especially if it proves to be harmful for the buyer. Properly filling out your disclosure form will keep buyers safe while also protecting sellers from lawsuits.

Why disclose if your home has lead based paint?

If a mistake is made on a disclosure form, a seller could find themselves facing lawsuits from the buyer. A buyer could claim the disclosure form was not accurately filled out by the seller, costing the seller thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Sellers Shield™ helps by providing definitions for terms, examples for the seller to reference, and by pointing out common issues cited in lawsuits.  If a lawsuit does occur, Sellers Shield™ will provide legal representation, given the seller purchased the Home Sale Legal Protection™.

Some states use the federal lead-based paint disclosure form, such as Florida, Oklahoma and Nevada. However other states, like California, have created their own disclosure forms that comply with the federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements.

Duties of a seller

In 1992, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction, or simply Title X, to ensure protection for homeowners and tenants from exposure to lead from paint, dust, and soil. Title X mandates the disclosure of known information on lead paint and its hazards before the sale or lease of housing built before 1978. You can use the EPA website to help locate a certified inspector if you are concerned your home may have lead paint. The EPA can also help you find a certified professional to remove the paint from your home.

As a seller, you must also disclose any information that is lead paint related as it relates to the unit and provide any reports or records. A 10-day period to allow for an inspection must be given unless both parties agree on shortening or waiving the inspection. Our disclosure forms help assist in disclosing any necessary information to your buyers, keeping you and your sale safe.

What are the dangers of lead based paint?

Leaded dust from paint can be just as dangerous as the paint itself. Places such as windows, doors, floors, stairways, and cabinets can be spots where leaded dust gathers and should be avoided. If these areas are hard to avoid, then wet mop them to keep them dust free. Symptoms of lead poisoning include aches and nausea, though some may show no symptoms at all. 

Children are especially susceptible to the dangers of lead paint. Symptoms for children who have been exposed include kidney damage, learning disabilities, and hearing damage. It can also be harmful to adults, with symptoms including fertility issues, high blood pressure, memory problems, and muscle and joint pain. Women who are pregnant are at increased risk, as lead can cause harm to a developing fetus. Depending on how much time you’ve spent in a home that’s been confirmed to have lead-based paint, tests may be needed to determine whether any medical attention is required. This EPA lead pamphlet has more information on the health dangers of lead paint.

Unsure if you have lead based paint?

If your home was built before 1978, there is a possibility it was built with lead-based paint. The most reliable way to test for lead paint is to have an inspection done by a professional from your local health department or from the EPA website. Some hardware stores carry DIY kits that will let you test for lead paint yourself, but a test from your local health department is the most accurate and safe method.

There are cases where lead paint can be contained by repainting with encapsulants, but more often than not the paint will have to be removed by a professional. This is especially true if there is chipping or peeling, which will cause the dust to spread and lead to further exposure. Do not try to repaint over lead-based paint yourself.

If you find you do have lead paint in your home, be very cautious to limit the amount of exposure to it. Any chipped or peeling paint will have to be removed by a professional. Regularly wash hands that have been exposed and keep the paint out of reach from children. Prevent children and pregnant women from occupying an area where paint could be disturbed to help prevent dust from the paint entering their systems.

Home Sale Legal Protection™

Bottom Line

Lead-based paint is a proven danger for homeowners, and not properly disclosing it could be a disaster for all parties. Preventing mistakes on your disclosure form not only keeps you safe from lawsuits down the road, but keeps buyers safe from potential hazards when moving in. Sellers Shield™ steps in where agents can’t, by providing guidance on the disclosure forms to prevent mistakes that could ultimately result in a lawsuit. 

Start protecting yourself and your sale today with Sellers Shield™.

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