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What You Need to Know About Lead-Based Paint Exposure

Chipped Off Lead Paint Laying on the FloorIt is your duty, as an Evanston landlord as well as a property owner, to keep your rental property in a safe and habitable state. This would mean doing regular maintenance and repairs for almost all property owners. If your rental house was built before 1978, there are some things to include in your property maintenance list. For instance, a lot of older homes were created using lead-based paint on the inside walls and ceilings. Lead-based paint can be hazardous, which is why landlords should be concerned about reducing lead-based paint exposure to their tenants. Next, we’re going to share a few of the secret dangers of lead-based paint in a rental home, as well as what property owners can do to help their tenants avoid exposure.

The Hidden Dangers of Lead Paint

Usually, buildings constructed before 1978 would make use of lead-based paint. If your walls have lead paint- unless the paint is disturbed, chips, or crumbles into dust- it’s not necessarily dangerous. As it ages, lead paint becomes toxic to people (especially children) who are exposed to it. The most common area for this to happen would be around windows and window sills, railings, banisters, porches, doors, and door frames. Adults who eat lead paint or inhale the dust can experience a host of health problems, some of which include headaches, body aches, digestive issues, memory loss, and even kidney damage. Lead paint is mainly harmful to children, resulting in learning disabilities, hearing problems, nerve damage, and bone marrow challenges. Some of these health issues can have a lifelong and damaging impact on people who are unfortunate enough to become exposed to lead-based paint.

Landlord Responsibilities

Your top priority, as a landlord, should be the health and safety of your tenants. The risks of lead paint surpass that as well. In most states, you could be liable for any related costs of treatment and other damages, such as pain and suffering, if you are aware you are renting a property with lead-based paint and did not share that information with your tenants. Therefore, it is important to know without a doubt whether your rental property has lead-based paint, inside or out, and take the needed next steps from there.

If you are not sure that your rental has lead-based paint or not, the primary thing you should do is to have it tested and inspected. Depending on the property’s age and location, it may not be adequate to trust the disclosures said to you when you purchased the property. Then, you may be legally required to inform and explain to your tenants what lead-based paint is and the dangers of exposure if lead is detected.

Avoiding Tenant Exposure

One of the top ways to avoid any risks of exposure is to have the lead paint removed completely. Although expensive, this approach is the most permanent long-term solution to the problem. Do not attempt to get rid of lead-based paint on your own; this is a job best left to the professionals.

If removal and replacement are not viable solutions, you could encapsulate or enclose your rental’s surfaces to deter any contact with the lead paint. Commonly, the more inexpensive option among the two is encapsulation. It deals with putting a special coating on top of the lead paint, so it creates a watertight seal. Enclosure, on the other hand, involves covering the old surface with a new one. It’s the same as putting up new drywall over an existing one or covering window sills with cladding. While the two options may work temporarily, if the coating ever fades or the enclosed surface is removed, the risk of being exposed is very great. On top of that, you would still need to provide disclosures to your tenant about the lead paint, according to the laws in your area.


At Real Property Management Chicago Edge, we are aware that owning rental properties can come with a few unforeseen challenges. You need the experience and resources of Evanston property management experts to see you through when problems do arise. To learn more, contact us online.

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