Enforcing Disclosure

Federal Law requires landlords to disclose known lead hazards in a rental property before a tenant enters into a rental agreement

The Lead Disclosure Rule
        Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as Title X, to protect families from exposure to lead from paint, dust, and soil. Section 1018 of this law directed HUD and EPA to require the disclosure of known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before the sale or lease of most housing built before 1978.

What is Required?
Before ratification of a contract for housing sale or lease, sellers and landlords must:
  • Give an EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards ("Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" pamphlet, currently available in , Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, Somali). See right sidebar
  • Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. The seller or landlord must also disclose information such as the location of the lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards, and the condition of the painted surfaces.
  • Provide any records and reports on lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards which are available to the seller or landlord (for multi-unit buildings, this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units, when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation).
  • Include an attachment to the contract or lease (or language inserted in the lease itself) which includes a Lead Warning Statement and confirms that the seller or landlord has complied with all notification requirements. This attachment is to be provided in the same language used in the rest of the contract. Sellers or landlords, and agents, as well as homebuyers or tenants, must sign and date the attachment.
Types of Housing Covered?
Most private housing, public housing, Federally owned housing, and housing receiving Federal assistance are affected by this rule.

Effective Dates
The regulations became effective on September 6, 1996 for transactions involving owners of more than 4 residential dwellings and on December 6, 1996 for transactions involving owners of 1 to 4 residential dwellings.

Sellers and lessors must retain a copy of the disclosures for no less than three years from the date of sale or the date the leasing period begins.

What Can You Do?
If you did not receive the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards form when you bought or leased pre-1978 housing, contact 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

Strategies to improve Lead Disclosure

1.  Adopt a local ordinance requiring mandatory disclosure and creation of a "lead safe" on line listing. Toledo's new ordinance makes failure to disclose a city code violation, enforceable by housing code inspectors

2. Identify pre-1978 rental properties and interview tenants about whether they received disclosure statements.

3. Get your local public housing agency (PHA) to require that landlords who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program must provide a copy of disclosure information to the PHA and the HCV tenant.

4. Ask local housing listing providers to require owners of pre-1978 properties to provide a lead disclosure statement to the listing agency.

5. Notify the local US Attorney when you find what appears to be a pattern of failing to provide lead disclosure information.

6. Notify the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing when you believe that a licensed real estate agent has failed to provide lead disclosure.  Note that, in Ohio, anyone who manages a rental property for another person or entity must be a licensed real estate agent.  
Property managers who are realtors could be sensitive to tenant/advocate complaints about non disclosure. In Ohio anyone who manages property must either be the owner or a licensed real estate broker. No disclosure-lose your license.

7. Survey your members or program participants.
a. do you live in a property constructed before 1978?
b. do you have children under 6 years of age who live in or regularly visit your home?
c. has your landlord provided you with a statement of known lead hazards and a pamphlet on lead poisoning risks?
Then follow up on any discrepancies

8. Ask rental listing services to require owners to provide a lead disclosure form before being listed. That includes socialserve.org, Ohio Housing Locator, GoSection8 and any PHA that provides listings of properties that accept Section 8.

9. Properties owned by municipal land banks should be tested before they are transferred to new owners or demolished. 

Here's an example of how lead disclosure has been used